National contact tracing app begins beta testing after delay

A Canadian smartphone app meant to warn users if they’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 is now in beta testing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June that it would be ready for testing just in Ontario starting early this month; the trial to look for bugs and other problems was delayed for reasons the government has never specified.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Feds mum on launch date for contact-tracing app after Ontario pilot delayed

Now the Canadian Digital Service, an agency that puts federal services online, is asking people to sign up and put the app through its paces over two to four days.

“We’re testing the app, and not you,” the agency’s notice says. Participants will be asked to complete certain tasks with the app and report on how well it works for them.

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When it’s fully functional, the “COVID Alert” app is supposed to track phones’ locations without collecting personal data anywhere centrally, using digital identifications unique to each phone.






Are there privacy concerns with Canada’s new COVID-19 contact tracing app?


Are there privacy concerns with Canada’s new COVID-19 contact tracing app?

Then users can be told if their phones have recently been near the phone of a person who later volunteers that they have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In the test phase, the agency says the app will send false alerts just to make sure the system works.



© 2020 The Canadian Press


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