As the second wave of COVID-19 seems to have arrived in many countries, the importance of measures such as social distancing, masks, testing, and tracing takes on increased importance. In Canada, the COVID Alert App is another important part of that toolkit. The app has been downloaded more than 4.5 million times and has been used to alert users to a potential exposure to the virus nearly 1,700 times. Despite the potential benefits, there remain many skeptics. Ann Cavoukian, a three-time Ontario privacy commissioner and one of Canada’s best known privacy experts, joins the LawBytes podcast this week to talk about the exposure notification and how it addresses potential privacy concerns.
Wiertz Sebastien - Privacy by Sebastien Wiertz (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ahk6nh
Earlier this summer, I posted on why I installed the COVID Alert App, the national exposure notification app designed to provide Canadians with an alert if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The post discusses the privacy safeguards that have been built into the app, the reviews from both the federal and Ontario provincial privacy commissioners, and points to previous Lawbytes podcasts (Edwards, Clayton, Kosseim) that discuss the use of technology to help counter the spread of the virus. While there were some concerns (notably the ongoing concerns with social inequities), I concluded that the safeguards combined with the public health benefits were enough to justify installation (Apple, Android).
“Get Money from Web Giants” Grows: Canadian Heritage Minister Guilbeault Says Government Working on a New Data Tax
Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has said that his top legislative priority is to “get money from web giants.” That approach has typically been taken to mean the introduction of digital sales taxes and mandated Cancon payments from Internet streaming services such as Netflix. More recently, Guilbeault has raised the possibility of a link tax or licence, which would be paid by companies such as Facebook or Google merely for linking to news articles. If that wasn’t a sufficiently large digital tax agenda, Guilbeault now says the government is also planning new taxes on data and online advertising. Guilbeault told Evan Solomon:
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 65: My Ian Kerr Memorial Lecture – Privacy and Zambonis in the Age of COVID-19
One year ago this week, Ian Kerr, a friend, colleague, teacher, and prescient scholar in the world of law, technology, and ethics, passed away. Ian’s loss sparked an outpouring of stories of a truly exceptional person whose friendship, mentorship, and “en-Kerr-agement”, left a remarkable legacy with so many citing his impact as a defining moment in their lives and careers. Given the impact Ian had on the privacy world, the IAPP launched an annual lecture in his honour at the IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium. While this year’s symposium was cancelled, the Kerr Memorial Lecture went ahead with an online streamed lecture.
I was honoured to deliver the inaugural lecture, titled Privacy and Zambonis in the Age of COVID-19. This week’s podcast features that lecture, which I think is most notable for exploring how Ian’s scholarship remains so fresh and relevant today with much to teach about the challenges of privacy in our current world.