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HomeNewsCanatrace COVID Contact Tracing App Goes Down

Canatrace COVID Contact Tracing App Goes Down

KAWARTHA LAKES-Canatrace, a COVID Contact tracing app has encountered a system-wide outage.

Asif Khan, Founder and CEO told Kawartha 411 News the outage happened around 5am this morning. Users of the app received a notification around 8am saying:

“Please be advised due to an unexpected server/switch issue within our Amazon Web Services environment, we are experiencing a network-wide system outage on the Canatrace system. We are investigating this and we are working to fully resolve within the next few hours.”

Kham told Kawartha 411 they aren’t exactly sure what is causing the outage and are waiting to hear back from Amazon.

The company website describes it as a “free, fast, secure and bilingual solution for businesses to collect patron and employee information per city guidelines across Canada. Our platform is updated as regulations change to support your evolving business needs, ensuring you are always up to date with current regulations.”

According to Canatrace 7,868 businesses use the app and 287,630,476 scans have been done since the company began in November 2020. The app is used by companies such as Moxies Grill and Bar, Boston Pizza and JW Marriott to name a few.

People with the app can scan the QR to go to a custom branded landing page for the business, type in mandatory contract tracing information and answer the COVID-19 symptoms screening questions. You then must show your final screen with the green checkmark to enter the business.

Khan says businesses will have to revert to paper contact tracing until the situation is resolved.

The Brookings Institution raised concerns about some online apps that include personal health information in 2020. The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC.

“We are concerned by this rising enthusiasm for automated technology as a centerpiece of infection control. Between us, we hold extensive expertise in technology, law and policy, and epidemiology. We have serious doubts that voluntary, anonymous contact tracing through smartphone apps—as Apple, Google, and faculty at a number of academic institutions all propose—can free Americans of the terrible choice between staying home or risking exposure. We worry that contact-tracing apps will serve as vehicles for abuse and disinformation, while providing a false sense of security to justify reopening local and national economies well before it is safe to do so. Our recommendations are aimed at reducing the harm of a technological intervention that seems increasingly inevitable.”

Read more here:https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/inaccurate-and-insecure-why-contact-tracing-apps-could-be-a-disaster/

Cybersecurity experts have also raised concerns about the apps. Read more here:https://calgaryherald.com/news/cybersecurity-academics-call-for-technical-review-of-contact-tracing-apps

Khan stresses Canatrace is safe and says this is a network outage, not a security issue.

The outage highlights concerns about using a QR code for a “vaccine passport”. Some question what happens when the system goes down and users are “locked out” of essential services.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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