Majority of Canadians support mandatory use of contact tracing apps for public services: survey

A majority of respondents believe in making contact tracing apps mandatory for the use of public services

About 55 percent of Canadians support making contact tracing apps mandatory when using public services like public transit.

A new survey conducted by Ryerson University asked Canadians to what extent they would support organizations making it mandatory to download a contact tracing app.

“Majorities of Canadians supported making contact tracing apps mandatory for the use of public services, like public transit (55 percent) and in workplaces (51 percent), though in both cases only one in four Canadians strongly supported such an approach,” the report reads.

Further, 46 percent of respondents believe that retail or grocery stores should make it mandatory to download the app. There is strong opposition for landlords of condominiums making contact tracing apps mandatory, as only 30 percent of respondents supported this idea.

“Requiring access to a mobile device for mobility, employment, education, services or housing has high potential to reinforce and exacerbate existing inequalities,” the report states.

The researchers outline that the Canadian government should ensure that any potential contact tracing app mitigates risks by only using Bluetooth technology and not location data. It’s also important to use a decentralized approach by keeping contact data on Canadians’ individual devices.

Governments and institutions should only be collecting, storing and using data that is necessary, and should delete data after 30 days. The reports suggests that the app should also be deleted after the pandemic is contained.

Further, the researchers note it is important that the app is only used on a voluntary basis, and legislation should be passed to ensure that no public or private entities can make the app mandatory to access goods, services, employment or housing.

Ryerson University conducted this report by surveying 2,000 Canadians in mid-May.

Image credit: Ryerson Cybersecure Policy Exchange

Source: Ryerson Cybersecure Policy Exchange