HAGGART: Canada’s COVID Alert app is a case of tech-driven bad policy design

Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about the incomplete technological fix Canada’s new COVID Alert app provides to a nation continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

He writes:

“The July 31 release of Canada’s COVID Alert app was greeted with almost universal praise. Privacy experts applauded its strong privacy protections, echoing the official app website’s extensive detailing of how “your privacy is protected,” including a link to an entire other page that explains “how COVID Alert protects your privacy,” which in turn links to Health Canada’s privacy assessment of the app.

 The focus on privacy was so overwhelming that you could be forgiven for thinking the app’s entire purpose was to protect people’s privacy rather than to save lives. Despite this near-universal praise, when you focus on the actual purpose of the app, rather than on its elegant design, red flags start popping up everywhere.

The design and rollout of the app all suggest that considerations of the app’s medical effectiveness have been secondary to its technical design.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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