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COVID-19 contact tracing app not good for Apple users

Last Updated Jul 10, 2020 at 6:17 am MDT

Customers look at iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones at an Apple Store in San Francisco on September 22, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jeff Chiu

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta’s privacy commissioner says the COVID-19 contact tracing app does a good job of protecting privacy, but not for Apple users.

According to the commissioner, the ABTraceTogether app and how it collects information of those who download it is generally good.
However, the commissioner does not like how those who use Apple need to have the app open in the foreground of their phones for it to work properly.

“Despite the positive aspects, I have ongoing concerns related to the functionality of ABTraceTogether on Apple devices. We recognize the challenges AH has faced in this regard since the safeguards required are out of its control.”

“Nonetheless, given the need to run ABTraceTogether in the foreground on Apple devices, there is a security risk. Running the app on Apple devices requires a device to remain unlocked, which significantly increases risk in case of theft or loss,” said Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton.

Clayton said the risk on Apple devices increases for employers in the public, health, and private sectors that have obligations to reasonably safeguard health and personal information that are under Alberta’s three privacy laws.