Welcome to today’s Ask a Tech Geek. Today’s questions have to do with the new Covid Tracking App.
I heard the government has put a tracking app on our phones? What is this new Covid Tracking App? Do we have to participate in this new Covid Tracking thing? Who is tracking us and how are they going to use my information?
With talk of a tracking app and fear of loss of privacy, many are wondering about this Covid 19 Tracking App. The government is working with phone and service providers to create an app that will help people know if they have at any time been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
This app will not be using GPS or any location services to track where people have been or where they are going. It will use the phone’s Bluetooth system.
This app will share your Bluetooth identification number with another person’s phone that you have come in close contact with and vice versa. No names will be shared, no personal data and neither phones will be able to communicate with each other in any other way.
Here is an example; You are in the grocery store you have the app downloaded and while shopping your phone and other phones around you that have app are sharing their id with each other. Should it happen that one of the people who has the app later tests for Covid-19, then the app on that phone will be able to send a warning to all the other phones stating that they may have been in contact with the virus and should seek medical advice. There will also be a way to contact your local health unit by submitting a form through the app.
The Bluetooth information that is exchanged between phones will only be held for 14 day after the 14th day if the two phones have not been in contact the Bluetooth Id will be deleted.
There has been a platform added to phones to help run this app but it cannot and will not be activated until you personally download the app giving it permission to access your Bluetooth system.
The Government is setting up this process to help with covid tracing which is especially important as more business and recreational areas open up. It will be easier to do trace tracking especially if you are near many people that you may not know personally may it be at work, in a park or travelling.
The platform or tool box that has been add to your phone was created to make sure that the app will only access Bluetooth Id numbers and no other areas of your phone. This is to ensure that your privacy is maintained at all time and that fraudulent apps cannot be downloaded by mistake.
The province of Ontario will be the Bata testers for this app as it starts to roll out to the rest of the country. We should see it up and running in Ontario very shortly.
Here is an example of what we may see from this app.
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