Dan Albas

COLUMN: COVID-19 contact tracing app offers innovative approach

App designed to help monitor spread of pandemic in Canada

There are times, despite efforts to the contrary, that government at all levels end up running into situations where there is a “no-win” scenario.

Case in point, recently the Trudeau Liberal government announced a federal application (or app) for smart phones, designed to assist in COVID-19 contact tracing.

This app utilizes Bluetooth technology to exchange random phone codes whenever you are in close proximity to other users who are utilizing the same app on their cell phone.

In the event one of these users has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, all other app users who were in proximity to this individual can receive a confirmation alert.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: B.C. wine will cost more

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Fiscal sticker shock

In order to satisfy individual privacy concerns the app does not use GPS tracking, nor does it record your identity or any of your personal identification.

Currently this app is fully functional for the purposes of contract tracing in the province of Ontario however it is my understanding that it will be coming to more provinces in the future.

There have been some criticisms of the app, largely around the fact it is only compatible with smart phones that are not older than five years and also have the latest operating systems from Apple or Android installed.

This leaves those with older devices, as well as those who do not use smart phones at all, out in the cold.

It may turn out that some will be unaware that the app does not work with their existing phone, only to become surprised when it becomes clear that it will not operate on their device.

The bottom line here is the app is not perfect.

From my perspective, the government deserves credit for taking an innovative approach that has been successfully used in other jurisdictions.

As with most technological approaches to public policy issues, it is only over time where further refining and enhancements of the technology can lead to widespread adoption and better results.

I have written to the privacy commissioner in regard to this and his office has created a privacy framework for reviewing any Government of Canada contact tracing app.

Recently Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, said, “Canadians can opt to use this technology knowing it includes very significant privacy protections,” adding, “I will use it.”

After having done the research for this report and given my work involves a lot of travel and meeting various people at different kinds of Parliamentary meetings, I have chosen to install the app.

My question this week is: Have you or would you download the Canada COVID-19 alert app on your handheld device?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Columnistfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boot launches campaign with Facebook Live event

NDP candidate for riding of Penticton joined by John Horgan, Richard Cannings and others

Summerland Senior Men play all net golf event

Summerland Ladies Club On Sept. 22, the Summerland Golf and Country Ladies… Continue reading

Unisus students in Summerland participate in Terry Fox Run

More than 120 students from private school take part in 40th anniversary of run

Column: $200,000 donation to Penticton Regional Hospital more than ‘a little something’

The donation brings us closer to our goal of a second CT scanner at hospital

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen seeks input about proposed composting facility

Organics composting facility proposed for Campbell Mountain Landfill

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Peachland resident finds severed bear paw on driveway

Tracie Gordon thought it was a Halloween prank, but it turned out to be a real bear paw

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read