The Public Health Agency of Canada reportedly accessed location data from at least 33 million mobile devices in the country in an effort to monitor the movement of people during the pandemic.
Now, the privacy commissioner is going to be probing that surveillance effort and looking into that use of cellphone data.
The information about Canadians was allegedly purchased by the Public Health Agency of Canada and they’ve acknowledged accessing that data on Canadians so that they could analyze the movements of people in the country during this time.
It’s reported that several complaints were made alleging violations of privacy and there are some who are worried about long term implications of this matter.
Why were they tracking millions of Canadians’ mobile devices? It was allegedly an attempt to link movements of people with any possible spread of COVID-19. But some say there is still a need for a clearer understanding and picture of exactly what was done in this circumstance.
Critics of the spying effort have suggested that more should be done to focus on ending the lockdowns instead of secretly collecting this data on millions of Canadians.
One community driven organization that is working to keep the internet affordable, open, and surveillance-free in Canada, is known as OpenMedia, and they’ve urged the need for privacy law reform in the country over this issue. They note that it is worrisome that Canadians only found out about this collection of data after it had already taken place.
Thousands of Canadians #DemandPrivacy Now
There is a petition that has earned thousands of signatures from those who are looking to support the move for privacy for Canadians. That petition is looking to help to push for reform on privacy laws in the nation.
Political representatives have already called for an ethics committee to hold emergency meetings that would seek to look into this matter of tracking millions of mobile devices in Canada.