Canada’s privacy regulator is admitting the government’s contract tracing app can’t provide a 100% guarantee of anonymity.
“True anonymity, technically speaking, would require the complete and permanent impossibility of reversing the data processes at play, which could reveal sources of personal information and so re-identify individuals,” says Vito Pilieci, spokesman for Canada Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien.
“Our understanding of the situation is that while the identification of users would be highly improbable, it would not be impossible.”
“Someone living in a remote area and only interacting with one or two other people could theoretically be identified by their neighbors if they received exposure notification alerts, for example.”
“While exposure notification apps are new and untested, we believe that in context, the governments of Canada and Ontario have sufficiently demonstrated that COVID Alert is likely to be effective in reducing the spread of the virus, as part of a larger set of measures and subject to close monitoring for effectiveness once the app is in use.”