Reports reveal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has admitted to tracking over 33 million cell phones. Reports reveal the tracking was to assess “the public’s responsiveness during lockdown measures.”
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, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“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.”
Canada’s population is roughly 38,436,447, meaning the government was tracking about 86% of its total population. “Evidence is coming in from many sources, from countries around the world, that what was seen as a huge surveillance surge — post 9/11 — is now completely upstaged by pandemic surveillance,” David Lyon, author of “Pandemic Surveillance” and the former director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Ontario, told the National Post.
The PHAC bought location and movement data from Canadian telecom giant Telus to “understand possible links between the movement of populations within Canada and the spread of COVID-19,” an agency spokesperson said, according to the paper.
The public health organization plans to continue tracking population movement for at least the next five years to control “other infectious diseases, chronic disease prevention and mental health,” the unnamed rep said.
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 afterward.
“[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.
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