Proposed Toronto pandemic intelligence network raises questions on data for public good

Toronto’s Financial District in November 2016. Photo credit: Copyright Queen's Printer for Ontario. Photo source: Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs | Flickr

A new report highlights a missed opportunity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: using the mammoth data sets already in the hands of businesses for contract tracing. More than a year into the pandemic, Instagram advertisers can find my location and deduce my interests in “GMAT exam,” “Nike Air Max, and “handmade jewelry.” Yet contact tracers can’t say if a Second Cup outlet that redeemed my loyalty rewards had recent visitors with COVID-19.

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