How contact tracing could help us travel again

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How contact tracing could help us travel again

Yesterday, in his daily Covid-19-related briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that a federally-backed project for digital contact tracing will soon be available for all Canadians.

The voluntary contact tracing app alerts you via a cell phone notification if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, using anonymous Bluetooth proximity data. The app also gives you some relevant local information about if and how you should proceed to get tested yourself.

This news comes at a perfect time for me, a Canadian resident who is keen to help balance public health protection with helping to stimulate global economies, including the tourism industry.

In other words, I am itching to travel internationally again and, while many borders are re-opening, I will only feel safe to travel again when there is a standardized and secure global “exposure notification” solution to our global pandemic.

Enter Apple & Google, who teamed up in a rare collaboration recently to create a privacy-by-design exposure notification API that is the technology engine behind the Canadian COVID Alert app. It’s a brilliant Bluetooth-enabled technology that impresses me* with its effectiveness and data privacy principles. There is no “Big Brother” identification of you or your contacts, just an anonymous proximity tracking solution that keeps everyone’s personal information private and secure.

Apple & Google say the technology could be included as a voluntary setting in their respective operating systems, which in my opinion is a smart way to provide a standardized global solution to a global pandemic.

I recently teamed up with another avid traveler, marketing consultatant and writer, Mary Charleson, and today we published a thought leadership article on this very topic.

Rather than re-publish the entire article here, please click over to Mary’s Carry-On Queen blog to read all about how this Apple/Google technology could help us travel again, especially if it becomes the standard global solution.

Or if you prefer to learn by listening, Mary and I did a podcast interview with Kit Parks of Active Travel Adventures.

I know for sure I will be an early adopter of the Canadian COVID Alert app, specifically because it is built on the Apple/Google collaborative technology. And I highly recommend that we all embrace that technology to get our world back up and running.

* In addition to my gig as a travel photographer & writer, I have a 20-year career in the digital arena. Most recently I was a business analyst on the global IT team for a multinational firm, tasked with implementing personal data privacy principles and rights within its global digital ecosystem. So I feel very equipped to analyze and comment on the privacy principles that are at the foundation of any contract tracing app.

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