On June 18, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the rollout of a new, made-in-Ontario app called COVID Alert made to alert Canadians when they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The app was developed by the Ontario Digital Service (ODS) and volunteers from Shopify using the Apple/Google framework for exposure notification. BlackBerry volunteers will audit the security and privacy of the app, in addition to the province's internal security reviews.
In order to protect user privacy, the app will not collect personal or GPS location data. Instead, the app will use randomized, anonymous codes associated with each smartphone using the app, and Bluetooth technology to detect duration and proximity of devices. Users of the app will be notified if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. In Ontario, the app will also provide users with quick access to Ontario's public health advice and resources, and recommend any necessary actions, such as monitoring for symptoms, self-isolation or getting tested.
The app is expected to be available for voluntary download in early July.
Summary By: Vanessa Komarnicki
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