Consent for coronavirus tracing apps must be ‘meaningful’, Canada’s privacy watchdog says

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The federal government must obtain “meaningful consent” from Canadians if it wants them to use any future smartphone app to digitally track coronavirus cases, the country’s privacy commissioner says.

In an interview with Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block, Daniel Therrien said he agrees with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments last week that such an app should be voluntary to earn public support.

But he added that the app’s design must be done properly, and meet a series of criteria, in order to balance privacy concerns with public health needs.

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“It’s not a question of either having public health protection or privacy. It is possible to have both at the same time,” Therrien said.

“But there is no question that privacy is engaged with these obligations.”

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Therrien listed some of the important privacy safeguards he said any contact tracing app should have before it’s introduced to the public.

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