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Privacy commissioners issue joint statement on privacy principles for contact tracing and similar smartphone apps

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May 7, 2020

Manitoba Ombudsman has joined with other federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners in issuing a joint statement on the privacy principles that should guide decisions about using contact tracing and similar smartphone applications as public health tools to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology can be part of an innovative solution to help address Covid-19. When governments contemplate the use of smartphone applications as a public health tool, they must also carefully consider the implications on the privacy rights of citizens. Respecting the privacy principles outlined in the joint statement is necessary to effectively protect personal and personal health information when taking measures to protect the health of citizens during this pandemic.

The joint statement and description of privacy principles is available at

Under Manitoba’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Act, the ombudsman may investigate complaints, conduct audits to monitor and ensure compliance with the acts, inform the public about the acts and comment on the access and privacy implications of proposed legislation, programs or practices of public bodies.