VANCOUVER, June 24, 2020 – On June 18, 2020 the federal government announced that a contact tracing app, “COVID Alert” will be available for Ontarians in July. The app will be in its testing phase, though the nature of testing remains unclear.
BC FIPA, in collaboration with CCLA, BCCLA, CIPPIC, ICLMG, and OpenMedia have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers regarding serious concerns with the application’s implementation and operation at a regional and national level.
The federal Privacy Commissioner’s office has not yet received the necessary information and access to the application in order to analyze and provide recommendations on it, nor has a Privacy Impact Assessment been completed or submitted to that office for review. It is highly concerning that a deployment date has been publicly announced before the federal Privacy Commissioner has been given the opportunity to comprehensively review the application and its privacy impacts.
In today’s digital age, if a contact tracing application is to earn the trust of Canadians, then privacy must be of paramount importance. We feel that the government’s current actions fall short. For this reason, we, the undersigned, are calling on the government to meet the following principles before the application is made publicly available. Details on our joint letter can be found here.
Jason Woywada, Executive Director
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
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