Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Canadians would likely be open to providing personal information for digital COVID-19 contact tracing.
“I think many Canadians would be open to the idea of providing some information that would normally not be provided simply because of this pandemic, but where do we draw the lines? That has not been established,” he said during his daily briefing on April 29th.
Trudeau noted that any type of mobile or digital tracking applications would have to respect the privacy of Canadians.
“We have a number of proposals and companies working on different models that might be applicable to Canada but as we move forward on taking decisions, we’re going to keep in mind that Canadians put a very high value on their privacy and their data security,” he said.
Several countries around the world have implemented different versions of digital contact tracing, some more extreme than others. Trudeau noted that some measures taken in other countries likely wouldn’t have Canadians’ support.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has repeatedly outlined that contract tracing remains an important and necessary part of the fight against COVID-19.
In a recent statement sent to MobileSyrup, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien stated that “during a crisis, laws can be applied flexibly and contextually, but they must still apply. Public health objectives and privacy protection can be achieved at the same time.”
Experts have warned that once Canada starts to use technology to track COVID-19, there should be appropriate safeguards implemented to protect Canadians’ privacy.