Alberta Premier Jason Kenney accuses feds of getting in the way of fixing contact tracing app

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is accusing the federal authorities of stopping tech corporations like Google and Apple from working with provinces to enhance their contact tracing apps.

“Sadly the authorities of Canada has advised Google and Apple to not work with the authorities of Alberta — or different provincial governments — on bettering the TraceTogether app,” Kenney stated throughout a press convention earlier right now.

Alberta’s app, known as ABTraceTogether, makes use of Bluetooth expertise to establish different close by good telephones that even have the app put in.

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However the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Well being Dr. Deena Hinshaw stated that the app does not operate on iPhones until the app is open and the telephone is unlocked.

A report launched final week by Alberta’s privateness commissioner indicated that leaving the app open may very well be a privateness concern.

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Watch: Jason Kenney on the Albert vs. nationwide contract tracing app row:

‘They’re successfully lowering the performance of an app which may help us in the midst of a public well being disaster.’ 0:40

“Operating the app on Apple gadgets requires a tool to stay unlocked, which considerably will increase danger in case of theft or loss,” privateness commissioner Jill Clayton stated in a press launch.

Kenney stated he desires to work with Apple and Google to repair the drawback, however Ottawa desires to take care of tech corporations itself.

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“They [the federal government] need cooperation on a single nationwide platform, however there is not one,” Kenney stated.

“They’re successfully lowering the performance of an app which may help us in the midst of a public well being disaster.”

Kenney is not the first premier to accuse Ottawa of interfering with provincial plans for a contact tracing app. New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs stated in June that the feds have stifled his province’s attempts to implement its personal app.

Final month, the federal authorities introduced it will be growing a nationwide contact tracing app for use throughout the nation.

The mission is being spearheaded by the Canadian Digital Service, a federal initiative, and the Ontario Digital Service, with assist from volunteers from the tech agency Shopify. It incorporates Bluetooth expertise supplied by Apple and Google.

The app was speculated to launch in Ontario final week earlier than being launched in different provinces, however the preliminary Ontario launch was delayed.

Federal Minister of Well being Patty Hajdu says a nationwide contact tracing app will launch quickly. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

In response to Kenney’s feedback, Well being Minister Patty Hajdu stated the federal authorities has been working with Apple and Google and the nationwide app will probably be launched quickly.

“We proceed to work with Apple, Google and our companions in jurisdictions throughout Canada on a voluntary nationwide app that will probably be prepared for obtain very quickly,” Hajdu stated in an electronic mail to CBC.

Alberta Well being Minister Tyler Shandro stated the province would help a nationwide app but it surely nonetheless desires to have the ability to work with the corporations to repair Alberta’s app.

“If we will be requested to assist [the federal government] in the growth of one other app, that is nice. However look, let’s permit Google and Apple to work with us to ensure the ABTraceTogether is absolutely practical,” Shandro stated.

Kenney stated he introduced up the challenge with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau throughout a current weekly name with the premiers. The Council of the Federation is anticipated to carry one other such name later this week.

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