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Experts warn ArriveCAN app may violate constitutional rights

According to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), a recent glitch in the controversial ArriveCAN app put fully vaccinated travelers into quarantine. Over 10,000 people were affected with the false message that they were needed. ).

The extent of the glitch revealed in a statement sent to Global News by CBSA equates to his 0.7% of the typical number of cross-border travelers each week. .

Global News also knows that it took him 12 days for the government to notify the traveler of the error.

READ MORE: Federal Privacy Commission investigating controversial ArriveCAN app

This worries some data and privacy professionals. The app says it may violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to move freely.

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It is also illegal among experts to order him to stay at home for two weeks without good reason. It is also debated whether it is a form of detention.

"This false notice causes direct harm to those who receive and follow it," said Thompson, his River University law professor in Kamloops, British Columbia, who specializes in trade secrets and confidential information. said Matt Malone.

“Governments have not provided sufficient transparency as to why it happened, and better accountability practices are needed to prevent it from happening again.”

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People in Canada Assist Border Patrol agents in determining whether you are eligible to enter the country and meet stringent COVID-19 requirements.

Seven months later, mandatory for all air travelers. In March 2021, it will be extended to all people crossing the border by land.

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The app collects personal data such as name, phone number, address, and vaccination status and uses it to inform public health authorities. is used to assist in enforcing government quarantine regulations.

READ MORE: Recent ArriveCAN "glitches" are part of a growing app concern

But a recent glitch, which the CBSA said it identified on July 14 and fixed six days later, killed thousands of fully vaccinated people who had not tested positive for COVID-19. It meant that the app autonomously sent an email to travelers telling them they needed to be quarantined.

The message also raises concerns that the government is not controlling the app's automated decision-making capabilities. This automated decision-making feature is theoretically only meant to determine if the information uploaded to the app is accurate.

"I think this is very troubling and raises some important questions about the government's use of AI," said Canadian Studies in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa. Chairman Teresa Scassa said.

"This is one of their flagship tools, and it doesn't seem to have any transparency or clear governance."

App Impact

According to the government, ArriveCAN will screen people crossing borders to revaccinate them against COVID-19 and monitor the spread of new variants.

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Also, CBSA and public health officials, not the app, are responsible for determining whether someone needs to be quarantined. It also states that it is important for travelers to understand that there are

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However, travelers who received erroneous quarantine orders told Global News to contact their governments to correct their mistakes. He said there was no way to fix it. Efforts to do so have been met with automated messages and agents who were unable to specifically discuss the issue, they say.

READ MORE: ArriveCAN 2.0 -- Ottawa Confirms Controversial App Will Outlast Pandemic

ArriveCAN, completed by the government during the "implementation" phase of the app, was supposed to help identify and mitigate potential risks to the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

But a review known as an Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA) isn't clear on how the app works or the extent of its automated decision-making powers, Scassa said.

A section of the review that should indicate whether ArriveCAN has the authority to make decisions on its own without human assistance states, "Decisions may be made without direct human involvement.

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The review states that the app is used "only" to assist human decision makers.

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According to Scassa, either the app makes its own decisions or it doesn't. Neither of these statements are true.

"That's not how automated decision-making works," she said.

READ MORE: ArriveCAN 2.0: Ottawa Confirms Controversial App Will Outlast Pandemic

Number of people who followed erroneous quarantine orders sent due to glitches for which there is no way to know for sure.

According to CBSA, an update to her ArriveCAN software released on June 28 caused a glitch. Prior to this update, some individual travelers were experiencing isolated issues with the app, but no widespread issues were reported, according to CBSA.

CBSA also said it had compiled a list of travelers affected by the glitch and shared the details with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

PHAC said she received the list from CBSA on July 25, but it contained only email addresses and unique identification numbers generated by each traveler's app. He added that he had not.

The agency emailed these travelers on July 26, 12 days after the defect was first identified, to inform them that they or someone in their group of travelers had accidentally I stated that I had received the order and was informed that I would not need it. Isolate.

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Privacy Concerns

Data and Privacy About ArriveCAN, which experts also have widespread concerns about.

According to his AIA on the app, the technology behind the app is considered a "trade secret."

This means that attempts to obtain information about how the software works will likely lead to government refusal. These details are often considered confidential third-party information under federal privacy and access to information laws.

Companies that have developed apps for government also cite non-disclosure agreements and the "confidential" classification of operations as reasons for not disclosing details.

READ MORE: Manitoba couple quarantined for two weeks due to ArriveCan app glitch

Malone, an expert in data and privacy law, said the lack of publicly available information about ArriveCAN's software is very concerning, especially in light of recent glitches.

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He also said that given the potential impact ArriveCAN would have on people's lives, he also believes that the government should consider using this type of technology. A Canadian who said he was concerned about defining a trade secret.

"It highlights the fundamental problems we have in seeking redress under existing privacy and data protection laws," he said.

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Ottawa The university said it wasn't sure if the recent ArriveCAN glitches reached unconstitutional levels.

This appeared to be relatively short-lived, as governments tried to fix the problem. She also said the government was not trying to justify the mistake and enforce the erroneous quarantine order.

Still, erroneous decisions affecting individual fundamental rights are a concern, she said. This is true regardless of whether decisions are made by humans, such as border agents, or by autonomous machines acting on behalf of the government.

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"Error.So by definition, it's not a legitimate infringement of your freedom," Mathen said.

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