The sharing of cellular data considered to improve monitoring of the pandemic: the opinion of our researcher Pierre-Luc Déziel in "Le Devoir"
Bell Canada plans to share the personal data of its consumers with public health authorities across the country in order to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Several other cell phone companies are also following this trend around the world, raising important questions about the balance between security for all and respect for individual freedom.
“The federal law on the protection of personal data contains several exceptions that allow this type of sharing in times of crisis,” said Pierre-Luc Déziel, professor of law and specialist in privacy at Université Laval. But companies and governments have to use caution when considering this. Cellular network usage data, especially geolocation data, sounds trivial, but it is very critical because it can infer a lot about a person’s privacy, lifestyle and choices.”
During a pandemic, cellular data can be used to track the movements of an infected person and to understand, among other things, their social interactions to establish and contain the progression of the virus. By geolocating devices, it is also possible to ensure that the rules of isolation and containment are respected.
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