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‘Totally Voluntary’ COVID-19 contact tracking application ready for Canadians to download

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The app works with key codes distributed by public health officials in Ontario, government officials said. Key codes will be provided by healthcare providers for patients receiving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Those in other provinces can still download the app and will still be notified if they have been near someone who has entered a key code, government officials told reporters.

This app can help prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada

If someone downloads the app at the time of receiving a positive COVID-19 test result, app users who have been in their vicinity will still be notified when the sick person uploads the key code.

Because the positive test result is reported in the app by the user, rather than public health officials, the government characterized the uses of the apps as voluntary. Government officials also declined to call the application contact tracking, as it does not collect personal contact information or trace locations. At a news conference, officials said it would be up to advisory council experts to decide how the information would be used by public health researchers.

The voluntary nature of the application raised questions about whether it would receive widespread adoption, as officials said it was a precondition for the application to be installed by both the person who contracted COVID-19 and those wishing to be notified.

When the app was first announced by Trudeau on June 18, tech advocate Michael Geist told the Canadian Press that a critical number of people need to download apps for them to be effective. Otherwise, Geist said at the time, people may feel a false sense of security because they are not being notified.

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