Canada’s federal government admitted to secretly surveilling its population’s movements during the COVID-19 lockdown by tracking 33 million phones.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) clandestinely tracked the devices to assess “the public’s responsiveness during lockdown measures,” the agency acknowledged last week, according to Blacklock’s Reporter, which first reported the disclosure.
Canada’s entire population totals 38 million, according to Statistics Canada.
“Evidence is coming in from many sources, from countries around the world, that what was seen as a huge surveillance surge — post 9/11 — is now completely upstaged by pandemic surveillance,” David Lyon, author of “Pandemic Surveillance” and the former director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Ontario, told the National Post.
The PHAC bought the location and movement data from Canadian telecom giant Telus to “understand possible links between the movement of populations within Canada and the spread of COVID-19,” an agency spokesperson said, according to the paper.
The public health organization plans to continue tracking population movement for at least the next five years to control “other infectious diseases, chronic disease prevention, and mental health,” the unnamed rep said.