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COVID-19 tracing apps come with privacy risks to Canadians, watchdogs warn

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Privacy commissioners from across the country are warning of potential risks associated with government COVID-19 apps used to trace the movements of Canadians.

Some provinces have already introduced smartphone apps designed to track users and notify them if they’ve been in close proximity to a person with COVID-19.

READ MORE: Doug Ford calls for a national strategy on contact tracing of COVID-19 cases

Federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says the health crisis calls for some flexibility when it comes to the application of privacy laws.

But he says there is a way to use technology to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus without sacrificing fundamental rights to privacy.

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Alberta working on contract tracing app for cellphones – May 6, 2020

The commissioners released guidelines for provinces, urging them to be transparent and accountable about how their apps work and what is being done with users’ personal information.

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They say the apps should also be secure to safeguard personal data, which should be destroyed once the crisis is over.

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