MPs call for Commons committee probe of health agency’s use of mobile data

Competition MPs want the house of Commons ethics committee to analyze the general public Health Agency of Canada’s determination to gather knowledge from tens of millions of mobile phones to grasp go back and forth patterns during the COVID-pandemic.

Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs say they would like the committee to carry emergency conferences this month even as the home of Commons is still on its holiday holiday since the agency is looking for to extend the observe.

Conservative MP John Brassard mentioned the pandemic is getting used as an excuse to undermine the privateness of Canadians who weren’t conscious that a government agency has been amassing cell phone information.

the collection simplest got here to mild after the company sought to extend the apply last month.

Brassard stated it’s “extremely alarming” that a government body may use the pandemic as an excuse to secretly gather the mobile data of Canadians with out telling them. He stated he desires to recognize what safeguards have been installed place to protect non-public privateness.

Coronavirus Brief

The recent at the coronavirus outbreak for Jan. 10

A request for proposals issued Dec. 16 desires get entry to to national cellular phone tower-primarily based area information, stripped of private identifiers, among Jan. 1, 2019 and may 31, 2023.

THE NOTICE says the data assortment must be correct, accessible and well timed even as ensuring privacy and transparency.

Final week, Brassard wrote to Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien to invite him to inspect the problem. On Monday, he wrote to Conservative MP Pat Kelly, who chairs the Commons privacy committee, to ask for an emergency assembly.

Bloc ethics critic Rene Villemure wrote to Kelly Friday to request an emergency assembly on the similar matter.

Villemure said the committee has the ability to demand the request for proposals be suspended and to launch an inquiry into the affair to reassure Canadians approximately what is being performed with their private data.

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In a media statement to CBC Information, PHAC stated analysis of “de-recognized” — nameless — mobility or area data helps tell coverage, public well being messaging, evaluation of measures and different sides of the executive’s reaction to the pandemic.

“At every step, PHAC has consulted with privateness and ethics mavens, together with the Office of the Privateness Commissioner, to verify the get right of entry to to and use of mobility knowledge follows highest practices,” the company said.

“Be Aware that PHAC will best use de-known mobility or region information to grasp population movement affects on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the agency stated, adding this kind of inhabitants motion information will help are expecting dangers to a specific geographic area and examine the effectiveness of pandemic measures in line with how the population responds to public health steering and directives.

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