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Privacy concerns lead to ArriveCan app investigation

Mike Campbell

August 1, 2022

The federal privacy commissioner has launched an investigation into the invasive ArriveCan app over a privacy complaint.

Privacy concerns lead to investigation into ArriveCan
Privacy concerns lead to investigation into ArriveCan

“Our office has received and is currently investigating a complaint that raises concerns with respect to the collection of personal information through ArriveCAN and subsequent use of that information,” wrote the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in an email.

The Commissioner’s Office won’t say who or where the complaint came from because the investigation is “ongoing.” Still, pending the investigation, this could be what takes down the app once and for all.

The Liberal government initially shoehorned in the ArriveCan app as a voluntary Covid safety precaution, which quickly became a mandatory requirement. But now, despite the need for the app being long past, Liberal Safety Minister Mendicino claims that the app has further evolved into an airport convenience measure.

However, critics everywhere have had enough of Liberals’ shifting narrative.

“The idea that that public health rationale was used in a time of fear and crisis to push this forward. You can’t just coast off of that and then switch the purpose of the app,” tech analyst Bianca Wylie told Global News.

In June, US politicians tweeted about how the app was costing Canada tourism money after having received calls from constituents who were so frustrated by it that they’d given up going to Canada. Some got as far as the border before they turned their cars around.

To this point, the CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada has also called for an end to the app, as have mayors on both sides of the border.

And, as the privacy commissioner digs into complaints, people continue to question some peculiarities about the app – such as it having more reviews than popular apps such as Tinder and Uber. 

Whatever comes from this investigation, frustrations with the app will likely continue until it’s scrapped.

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