Photo: Valérian Mazataud Archives The Duty
The government wants to know the confidence level and the concerns of Quebecers on this kind of mobile application, already present in the world.
Quebec toying with the idea of launching an application follow-up of contacts to contain the COVID-19, but at first he wants to probe the membership rate of the population. An effort applauded by experts, who are reminded, however, that this tool has its limits, in addition to raising its share of security problems.
“It is expected that, as government, to ensure that there is a second wave, launched in the press briefing on Wednesday the minister delegated to the digital Transformation of government, Éric Caire. Thus, “all options to combat a resurgence of the pandemic should be part of the reflection,” he insisted.
Hence, the government wants to know the level of confidence and the concerns of Quebecers on this kind of mobile application, already tested around the world. To do this, it has launched a public consultation, in the form of online questionnaire, to stretch until the 2nd of August next.
“If the Quebec we say” yes ” in a number that is significant, we can go forward. But if they tell us ” no “in a number just as significant, we know at this time that it is doomed to failure,” summarized Eric Cairo. However, he did not want to encrypt a participation rate or response that his government would consider sufficient to motivate a decision.
All of the options to combat a resurgence of the pandemic should be part of the reflection
— Eric Cairo
However, a “appetite” of the public for this technology is discussed is essential, argued the minister, because its effectiveness depends on its adoption on a large scale. “It can be a tool that is useful if, and only if, people are downloading it “, he exposed, raising as an example the flop of the application “StopCovid” in France.
Only 2% of French have downloaded the tool on their smart phone, it is not possible to report that a paltry number of contamination risks. Conversely, in the case of Germany is ” interesting “, continued the elected caquiste. Three days after the launch of their app, it had more than 9.6 million downloads.
Faults and reliability
Repeatedly, the minister Cairo, wanted to be reassuring with respect to safety issues. Not a question of “draw” whatever, he hammered it : the tool eventually selected will not use the geo-location, not more than biometrics or any form of storage of personal information. “What we want is to preserve the privacy of the Québécois. “
The mobile application should use the Bluetooth chip of the smart phones, in order to exchange a random id with other devices in the vicinity. In the context, this technology is more reliable than the geolocation, but it also has its failures, is Sébastien Gambs, professor of computer science at UQAM and a specialist in ethics of big data.
“Through a wall, my phone may have the impression that I was close to another person, while this is not the case, shows there. There will be false positives and false negatives. “
Furthermore, for such an application works, it will be necessary that the Bluetooth feature is turned on continuously, advance the researcher. Users expose themselves to an increased risk of computer hacking.
“General, I have always been very critical of these applications, they do not provide, to date “no guarantee” to stem a pandemic, portion of its side Anne-Sophie Letellier, a specialist in computer security and co-director of communications at Crypto Quebec. That said, if the government intends to deploy an application, she said, the Bluetooth better protects privacy as the GPS tracking.
In a scenario where he gets the green light from its citizens, Quebec is aiming for a very fast deployment of a tracking application contacts : between four to six weeks after the end of its public consultation. And to save time, he intends to turn to a tool that already exists rather than develop its own.
Cabinet minister Eric Cairo, it refuses to disclose the applications on the table. One of the Trudeau government, is nevertheless the subject of an “analysis” now.
To recall, Ottawa is on the verge of launching ” COVID Shield “, a tool developed by the digital services canadian, alongside Shopify and BlackBerry. In addition to Ontario, which must first test it, British Columbia has also expressed its interest to implement it. Quebec could therefore follow in their footsteps.
However, there is very little information on this application and its operation, points out Sébastien Gambs. “Since he has already chosen his tool, the federal government could make the effort to reveal the technical specifications, he said. It would allow the experts to see if it complies with the safeguards of ethics and privacy that we would like to have “.
13 new deaths
The pandemic has made 13 new deaths in Quebec, announced on Wednesday that the authorities. The balance sheet climbs to 5603 dead. Seven of the 13 deaths occurred before the 30 June. There were 82 new hiv infections, for a total of 56 079 case. The number of hospitalizations had slipped out of 16, at 331. One more person was in the intensive care 27.