Posted on May 1, 2020
GOVERNMENT MUST EARN PUBLIC TRUST TO MAKE TRACING APP WORK
Heather Sweet, NDP Opposition Critic for Democracy & Ethics, made the following statement regarding the introduction of the voluntary TraceTracker App:
“Tracing app technology can provide a useful tool for public health officials to detect and contain the spread of COVID-19. We support the intent of the TraceTracker app generally as part of a comprehensive pandemic response.
“The usefulness of this app will be determined by how widely Albertans accept it. Government officials in Singapore, where TraceTracker was first introduced, have stated that the app works most effectively if 75 per cent of the general population downloads it. Acceptance depends on trust, and, for that, the government must be fully transparent about the app’s privacy risks, and the steps the government has taken to limit those risks.
“The NDP Official Opposition was briefed on the app today and informed that the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has 14 outstanding questions about TraceTracker. We believe those 14 inquiries should be published by the Government as a matter of transparency and then addressed.
Additionally, we have our own questions about TraceTracker. They are as follows:
- Can the app be used in a way that penalizes people who test positive for COVID-19?
- How is the data captured by the app stored?
- How is the data that’s captured being protected from other apps and operating systems on a user’s phone?
- What are the rules governing mandatory use of the Tracetracker app on corporate phones assigned to employees?
- Will the government communicate in plain language the current level of review completed by Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner?
“Furthermore, the Alberta NDP Official Opposition believes manual contact tracing must continue and potentially be ramped up if uptake on the TraceTracker app is not high.
“Lastly, we believe the TraceTracker app must be suspended and the information captured by it terminated the moment the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted.”