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Quebecers debate downloading COVID Alert app

By Felicia Parrillo  Global NewsPosted October 8, 2020 3:46 pm Updated October 8, 2020 5:36 pm


WATCH: Premier François Legault’s frustration was evident at the National Assembly on Thursday. Legault is accusing opposition parties of cultivating a culture of fear among Quebecers, which is keeping people from downloading and using the COVID-19 Alert application. Global’s Felicia Parrillo explains – Oct 8, 2020

Things got heated during Thursday’s question period at the national assembly.

Quebec Premier François Legault says opposition parties, including Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois, are inciting fear in the minds of Quebecers about downloading the COVID Alert app.

READ MORE: Quebec will use federal coronavirus exposure app amid second wave

Opposition parties have questioned the effectiveness of the application, saying it could lead to false positives and testing centres becoming overcrowded.

“They put a question mark in the head of Quebecers and I’m asking them to reconsider their position,” said Legault. “It’s important that when we identify somebody with COVID, that fastly, rapidly, we identify people the people they’ve met two weeks before.”

On Monday, the premier announced that the province would be adopting the federal government’s COVID-19 exposure notification app, even downloading it during a press conference, urging Quebecers to follow suit.

READ MORE: Quebec introduces COVID Alert app as daily case tally tops 1,000 for 4th straight day

The app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones. Every day, it checks a list of codes from people who have told the app they’ve tested positive.

If you’ve been near one of those codes in the last 14 days, you’ll get a notification.

READ MORE: The COVID Alert app isn’t working as well as it should be, and Canadians are part of the problem

Some have questioned the app’s privacy, but privacy experts have praised it. Cybersecurity expert Terry Cutler says contrary to what people may think, the app does not track you or have any way of knowing your personal information.

“There are securities in there,” he said. “There’s no contact tracing in there, there’s no personal information that’s being divulged in there, there’s no geo-location that’s being tracked as well.”STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENThttps://7713a103693f1c030163725864c22445.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Still, people seem to be split on whether or not to download the application.

“I’m a very private person myself, but you have to do what’s best for the good of society,” said Carmen Lacasse.

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