#Ottawa; #COVIDAlertGlitch; #ExposureNotification; #GooglePlayStore; #AppleAppStore
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canada's COVID Alert app glitch, that left some Canadian users without exposure notifications for much of November, was fixed last week by the developers, media reports said.
Covid Alert app. Image credit: Twitter handle
A glitch in the COVID Alert prevented the app from checking for potential exposure to the coronavirus on certain devices for at least two weeks in November.
An update to the app released on Nov. 23 said it would fix a "bug causing gaps in exposure checks for some users."
The uncertainty of the number of people who missed exposure notifications due to the glitch, raises the prospect that certain people were not advised to self-isolate or seek a COVID-19 test in a timely manner, presumably delaying diagnosis.
This episode highlights how the app could provide users with a false sense of security, said Kelly Bronson, a Canada Research Chair in science and society and serves on the Global Pandemic App Watch program at the University of Ottawa, which tracks the uptake of similar tools around the world, pointed out "automation bias" -- human tendency to rely on automated decision-making, which can reduce personal vigilance and warned that the apps
"are not a panacea."
"I think it's really important that people know the limitations of these technologies," she said, CBC News reported.
The process of receipt by a smartphone codes from a central server of exposure to Covid 19 is supposed to take place several times a day.
Several users said on the social media that their devices did not show any exposure checks from Nov. 9 to 23 .
The problem was presumably first been reported by commenters in the Google Play Store as early as Nov. 12 "I noticed today that COVID Alert has done no exposure checks for the last two weeks," a user wrote in Apple's App Store on Nov. 20. "What good is this?," reported by CBC News.
Users of Android devices are requested to check their the Google Play App Store, and users of iPhones should check with their Apple's App Store to ensure their Covid19 Alert app is updated.