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Opinion

Don’t be so quick to sign away privacy rights in the face of the pandemic

By Natasha Tusikov      

The rapid shift toward automating a core public health function involving sensitive health data in the midst of a global emergency should give Canadians pause.

According to a recent Leger poll, Canadians rated their trust in public health officials, like chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam, at 81 per cent. It’s vital that Canada not squander the public’s high level of trust in public health officials, writes Natasha Tusikov. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared data is “a new superpower” to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically “the ability to gather and share data for good.” Zuckerberg and other tech giants are offering their services to track the pandemic’s progression using social media data and trace the contacts of infected people. Contact tracing is a laborious process, usually undertaken manually by medical professionals who painstakingly track the infected person’s close contacts. With the sudden boom of COVID-19, surveillance tools and services—many of which are relatively untested—we should be asking critical questions about privacy and security.

WE Charity highlights loopholes for ‘celebrity’ and secret lobbying, warn observers who call for long overdue review

'I’m of the opinion that organizations understand the rules so well that we have seen that they will make sure they don't have to report if they don't want to,' says ethics scholar Ian Stedman.

‘Weak’ trade growth in 2019 caused by ‘trade policy uncertainty’ and ‘mixed economic signals’, Global Affairs report suggests

News|By Neil Moss
Canada's export growth with China declined by 16 per cent in 2019 and growth in exports to the United States slowed to 2.5 per cent.

Fundraising amid pandemic ‘incredibly difficult’ for Green leadership hopefuls as Paul takes clear lead

The second- and third-place fundraisers are hitting the road, holding socially distanced campaign events across the country as they try to close the gap with leader Annamie Paul.

Venezuela winter elections will be fraudulent, warns envoy, calling for continued support

Last November, Canada officially recognized Orlando Viera-Blanco, a representative of interim president Juan Guaidó, as the country’s ambassador.

Official Languages Committee to probe WE Charity deal

News|By Palak Mangat 4:31 PM ET
Liberal MP Sherry Sherry Romanado, who voted along party lines to oppose the motion, says the probe falls outside the scope of the committee's mandate.

‘Extraterritorial reach’ of national security law in Hong Kong could have chilling effect on freedom of speech in Canada, say activists

News|By Beatrice Paez
Cherie Wong of the Alliance Canada Hong Kong says Canada’s intelligence and police agencies appear to be ill-equipped to respond to the 'malicious and sophisticated' ways in which Beijing allegedly suppresses criticism.

WE was ‘at no point’ creating a program for feds, says top bureaucrat

News|By Palak Mangat
'There were many sources. Public servants wanted to help; ministers wanted to help. A problem had been identified and a multitude of ideas were put forward,' says Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart.

Upper Chamber staff harassment ‘more widespread,’ and could happen again, say former Don Meredith Senate employees

Sexual harassment is ‘more widespread’ in the Senate than the Don Meredith case, says one of his former staffers.

Would-be Conservative leaders wooing Quebec dairy farmers, but organizers say they won’t decide the race this time

With Maxime Bernier out of the party, dairy farmers don’t have a supply-management bogeyman to unite against this time.
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