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CRTC says there's no evidence network data being used to trace COVID-19

Last Updated May 15, 2020 at 11:48 am PDT

FILE - A CRTC logo is shown in Montreal, Monday, September 10, 2012.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Summary

Programs considered by governments, health authorities don't appear to use data collected by telecommunication providers

CRTC is required by the Telecommunications Act to contribute to privacy protections

CRTC should actively monitor, disclose how country's communications services are involved with contact tracing

OTTAWA — Canada’s telecommunications regulator has rejected a call to get more actively involved in safeguarding privacy if cellphone and internet apps are used to trace COVID-19’s spread.

Among other things, the CRTC says programs being considered by governments and health authorities don’t appear to use data collected by telecommunications service providers.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre argued in a May 4 filing that the CRTC is required by the Telecommunications Act to contribute to privacy protections.

The group said the CRTC should do that by actively monitoring and disclosing how the country’s communications services are involved with contact tracing efforts.

But the regulator says in a May 13 reply that the proposal appears to be beyond its purview.

The CRTC says its staff has been monitoring developments and is in contact with the federal privacy commissioner and sees no evidence that a CRTC public proceeding is warranted.