OTTAWA – Politics – Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Industry and Economic Development, issued the following statement to reaffirm the call for privacy oversight in light of the Privacy Commissioner’s release of a COVID-19 privacy framework for governments:
“Nearly one month ago, I issued a call for privacy oversight of the government’s data collection as part of their approach identifying outbreaks and tracking the movements of Canadians. Today, I welcome the Privacy Commissioner’s development of a framework intended to ensure that the government upholds privacy laws.
“I also echo the calls of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for Canadian authorities to ensure that data tracking-based measures to combat COVID-19 is used only as a last resort.
“I am concerned that while the government is signing contracts with companies like BlueDot, a platform built around artificial intelligence to monitor the spread of COVID 19, they have not been transparent regarding how they are managing Canadians’ privacy. Any tracking initiative that goes beyond what Canadians would normally accept must be rooted in a privacy protection framework, not the other way around.
“Justin Trudeau must immediately explain to Canadians how data is being collected and stored and under what circumstances. He can’t leave us in the dark.
“It is necessary to take additional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. But that does not mean Canadians don’t deserve to know how this is being done. I will continue to fight for Justin Trudeau to be transparent about any plans to use cell phone data to track Canadians, and to ensure that proper safeguards and oversight be put into place.”