The Trudeau administration has admitted to tracking over 33 million cell phones under the guise of assessing “the public’s responsiveness during lockdown measures”, according to reports.
The spying on Canadian citizens was revealed last week. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) purchased data on cell phone users’ location and movement from Telus, to “understand possible links between the movement of populations within Canada and the spread of COVID-19,” an agency official said.
“Due to the urgency of the pandemic,” the spokesperson said, “(PHAC) collected and used mobility data, such as cell-tower location data, throughout the COVID-19 response.”
Redvoicemedia.com reports: Tracking this data “helps to advance public health objectives,” according to the PHAC rep, who was not named.
The organization says it will continue to track the information and movement of the population for “at least the next five years” in order to control “other infectious diseases, chronic disease prevention and mental health,” according to the rep.
Canada’s total population is approximately 38,436,447, meaning the government was tracking approximately 86% of the total population.
The National Post spoke with David Lyon, author of Pandemic Surveillance and former director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, via email. Lyon told them, “I think that the Canadian public will find out about many other such unauthorized surveillance initiatives before the pandemic is over—and afterwards.
“[PHAC] uses the same kinds of ‘reassuring’ language as national security agencies use,” Lyon continued, “for instance not mentioning possibilities for re-identifying data that has been ‘de-identified.’ In principle, of course, cell data can be used for tracking.”
The data gathered is used for the COVID Trends website.