The federal government’s COVID alert app has topped 4 million downloads after more provinces entered the region with the app over the past few weeks. Furthermore, Canada’s public health website states that as of October 8, more than 1,000 one-time keys have been used.
Back in early September – and 90 days after the COVID alert was launched – the app garnered 2.2 million downloads. These new numbers represent an equivalent increase in downloads in about 40 days, or less than half the time to cross the 2 million mark.
It is worth remembering that many provinces have officially joined the COVID alert and are ready to support further application. Currently, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, PEI and Quebec all allow COVID alert users to report COVID-19 confirmation with the app. BC and Nova Scotia are also planning to support this app soon.
The COVID warning warns that you may be exposed to COVID-19 without compromising privacy
For those who are still unaware of the COVID alert, the app is based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification system. The system is designed to work between Android and iOS devices and lays the foundation for countries to create exposure notification applications.
COVID Alert works by using Energy Connections in smartphones’ Bluetooth to detect other nearby phones and trade unique, anonymous codes. These codes do not reveal your identity or other private details such as your location or what you were doing when the codes were transferred. Instead, these codes serve as a record of every intimate relationship you have with someone close to you. The app can trade some information such as the strength and duration of the Bluetooth connection, which can be used to estimate contact duration. Smartphones store these codes locally and no one else can see them.
When someone in one of the provinces supporting the application tests positive for COVID-19, they receive a one-time key with the result. They can enter this key in the COVID Alert app to verify their positive test, and then upload a local record of potential contacts from their phone. Again, the record does not identify you or share personal details. After uploading, other smartphones with a COVID alert can check the anonymous code for matches. If there is a match, the app warns exposed users that they have COVID-19 and suggests the next steps such as blocking or testing offers. All this is done without revealing who you are or other personal details.
The COVID alert application has been reviewed and approved by both the Commissioner of Privacy of Canada (OPC) and the Office of the Commissioner of Information and Privacy of Ontario (IPC).
If you have not yet downloaded the COVID Alert, you can do so for free on both iOS and Android. As COVID case counts continue to rise, please download the app if you can. While helping to prevent the spread of the virus it can go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones.
Source: Canada Via: Michael Geist
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