ArriveCAN App Possibly Violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Experts

Some privacy and data experts think the ArriveCAN app may be violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — reports Global News.

According to critics, the ArriveCAN app may have infringed upon Canadians’ constitutional right to move freely when it sent erroneous quarantine orders to fully-vaccinated travellers last month.

Ottawa previously admitted that the ArriveCAN app sent false quarantine notifications to approximately 3% of travellers due to a glitch. The underlying issue was fixed less than a week after it was flagged.

However, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said in a recent statement that quarantine orders had already been sent to more than 10,000 people by then. The number represents 0.7% of average cross-border travellers per week.

“It creates direct harm for people who are receiving this incorrect notification and following it,” said Matt Malone, a law professor at the Thompson River University in Kamloops, B.C., specializing in trade secrets and confidential information.

“The government hasn’t provided sufficient transparency about why that happened. And there needs to be better accountability practices in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Several experts have even questioned if ordering people to quarantine for two weeks without cause amounts to unlawful detention. Many are also peeved by the lack of publicly available information regarding ArriveCAN, the inner workings of which are completely confidential.

The app collects personal data from travellers, including their name, telephone number, address, and vaccination status, which is then used to help public health officials enforce the government’s quarantine rules. Concerns have also been raised regarding the app’s collection, storage, and use of data.

Late last month, the federal Privacy Commissioner launched a formal investigation into the ArriveCAN app following complaints.

While the government maintains that ArriveCAN is reducing processing times at the border, the CBSA disagrees.

Meanwhile, Canadians are left wondering why they have to keep using the app in the first place. After all, COVID-19 restrictions all over the country have already eased. Previous reports indicated the feds are likely planning to turn ArriveCAN into a pre-customs screening tool, which may be why they’re pushing it so hard.

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