A free app designed to alert Canadians if they come into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 can now be downloaded in Ontario.
Backed by the federal government, the COVID Alert app is a voluntary system where users can enter their COVID test results to let others in the area know if they were in the vicinity of someone who has been infected, with the goal of stopping the spread of the virus.
The technology – designed with open-source code from volunteers at Ottawa-based Shopify and security features from BlackBerry – uses Bluetooth technology to track a user’s phone location, without collecting or storing any personal data.
Once a diagnosed person signs into the app, a notification is sent to anyone with the app installed who has been within two metres of the ill person for more than 15 minutes within the prior two weeks.
The app will then encourage users to call their provincial health services for advice on what to do, once a user gets a notification that someone who had been nearby tested positive for COVID-19.
While the voluntary app has received mixed reactions online, the federal government is urging residents in Ontario to download the tracking app before it moves to a Canada-wide rollout.
– With files from the Canadian Press