Ottawa’s use of our location data raises big surveillance and privacy concerns

27 January 2022

News recently broke that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had been procuring location data from millions of mobile devices to study how COVID-19 lockdowns were working.

Appalled opposition MPs called for an emergency meeting of the ethics committee of the House of Commons, fearing that the pandemic was being used as an excuse to scale up surveillance.

At the same time, our group of interdisciplinary experts from around the world convened at a research retreat on the subject of the ethics of mobility data analysis. Computer scientists, together with philosophers and social scientists, looked at the ethical challenges posed by the uses of mobility data, especially those legitimized by the pandemic.

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