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Canada’s COVID Alert app, frequently promoted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a way for users to protect their health while being respectful of their privacy, is being used for data collection, a federal panel says. The app has been downloaded more than six million times, but only 25,552 people put their information to notify others around them after testing positive for COVID-19, according to data from Health Canada. According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the app cost a total of $480,000 to develop, with an additional $16 million to promote it. The cabinet’s App Advisory Council, though, has already considered what purpose the app could potentially extend “beyond a government service to Canadians and the public health systems towards a tool that will also support Canadians and businesses in our economic, social and mental health recovery and restoration.” Cabinet “has consulted Statistics Canada regarding any data of value they may be collecting, e.g. the number of mobiles in Canada, and best methodologies and practices for the calculation of data that could be applied to the Government of Canada’s current approach, e.g. app downloads.”

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