Residents of Ontario can now download a new app that can tell them whether they have been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the previous two weeks.
But while government officials say the goal is to make the COVID Alert contact notification app available across the country and are in talks with other provinces, they can’t state yet when it will be available outside Ontario. The Android version can be found here.
They also haven’t explained why only one province has agreed to adopt what was supposed to be a national app.
COVID Alert is the federal government’s latest move in the battle to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Canada’s economy gradually reopens. Here’s how it works:
- You start by downloading the app to your smartphone.
- That will allow the phone to use Bluetooth technology to exchange signals with nearby phones.
- If someone tests positive for COVID, their public health authority will give them a one-time key to enter into the app.
- The app will then send out notices to every phone that has been within two metres of the infected person’s phone for at least 15 minutes over the previous 14 days — as long as those other phones also carry the app.
- Those who receive a notification will receive instructions on what to do next.
Officials say that the app will become more effective as more people download it — and they stress that it’s a notification app, not a contact-tracing app.
App is voluntary
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has downloaded the app.
“I want to be clear — this app isn’t mandatory,” he told reporters. “It’s completely voluntary to download and to use.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains new COVID Alert app
Trudeau said the federal government is close to working out an agreement with the Atlantic provinces to integrate their systems with the app. The federal government says it is also talking with other provinces and territories about integrating their systems but hasn’t indicated when other provinces might adopt the app.
While anyone across Canada can download the app, they will receive alerts only if they have been near someone who has tested positive in a province that has integrated the app with its testing system, and who has downloaded the app.
While the Android version requires users to turn on their location settings, officials maintain the app will not know a user’s location, name or address. It also won’t track exactly when the user was near someone who tested positive, or whether they are currently near someone who has tested positive.
For users of Apple devices, the app works on the iOS 13.5 operating system and newer systems. That means the app might not work on some older smartphones, and some users might have to upgrade their operating systems.
Officials said the government has been working with federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien’s office to address any privacy concerns.
Therrien endorsed the app on Friday, saying that he plans to download it himself.
“Canadians can opt to use this technology, knowing it includes very significant privacy protections,” he wrote in a statement.
Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Patricia Kosseim agreed, saying her office’s review found strong measures to protect privacy.
“I support the use of exposure notification technology to help control the spread of COVID-19, provided it is used in the way it’s been designed to respect the privacy of Ontarians,” said Kosseim. “This app will only work if people trust their personal information will be protected and choose to use the technology.”
Therrien and Kosseim said, however, that their endorsements are conditioned on the app’s use being voluntary and the government continuing to monitor it.
Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quibi app to shut down – Entertainment News – Castanet.net
Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN
Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.
Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.
The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.
Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.
Quibi is shutting down just six months after launching – MobileSyrup
Surprise: Quibi is dead.
Quibi, a short form mobile-focused video streaming service that struggled to find an audience amid a global pandemic where many people are working from home, is shutting down, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Given the platform was available for only six months, this makes it one of the shortest-lived streaming services ever.
Several factors likely played into Quibi’s untimely demise, including that a mobile-focused streaming service doesn’t make sense when people are home, that none of its content was really compelling enough to attract returning subscribers, and the fact that you can watch short-form video content on platforms like YouTube and TikTok entirely for free.
It’s unclear what will happen to Quibi’s lineup of celebrity-filled content. The Information initially reported co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also the former Walt Disney Studios chairman, attempted to sell Quibi’s content to Facebook and NBCUniversal, but ultimately failed.
Quibi launched in Canada on April 6th for $6.99 per month for a subscription tier that featured ads and $9.99 per month to remove ads. The platform forged a partnership with Bell that included exclusive sports and news content from CTV News and TSN. Bell’s Quibi initiatives will likely be cancelled entirely. MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for more information.
It’s also worth noting the report of Quibi’s shutdown comes just two days after Bell Media president Randy Lennox announced that he’s departing the company. Lennox was reportedly the driving force behind Bell’s investment in Quibi.
Quibi allowed viewers to watch content in both landscape and portrait mode. While the platform was initially off to a strong start, it struggled to keep subscribers around after it’s free trial ended. Some reports indicated that Quibi lost 92 percent of its early users following the end of the platform’s free trial.
Notable content included Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand, a show about a man that rolls ornate marijuana spliffs for celebrities, Bad Ideas with Adam Devine, 50 States of Fright, Chrissy’s Court with Chrissy Teigen and several more.
For a complete list of Quibi’s content, follow this link.
It remains unclear when Quibi will remain operational until or what will happen to users that have paid a subscription fee. MobileSyrup has reached out for more information from Quibi.
Update 10/21/2020 6:43pm: Quibi has confirmed that it’s shutting down in a press release. It says that “following the company’s wind down and satisfaction of all liabilities, the remaining funds will be returned to its investors as specified in the company’s operating agreement. ”
“We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices,” said Katzenberg in the press release.
Quibi says that it’s working with “legal and financial advisors” to “identify a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets.”
Regarding subscribers, Quibi says that it’s sending out notifications regarding the final date they will be able to access the platform.
Further, Bell says that it’s “in touch with Quibi management and discussing next steps.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal
WestJet to start refunding flights cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic
WestJet is the first Canadian airline to provide cash refunds for all flights. It had previously offered refunds for specific flights only, with future flight credit available for the majority of cancelled flights.
In an emailed statement, the airline said starting Monday, Nov. 2, eligible passengers will be contacted “proactively,” a process that will start with those whose flights were cancelled by the airline at the start of the pandemic, starting with trips booked for March.
“The refund process is expected to take six to nine months to work through eligible requests,” WestJet said.
The airline said it also expects an “administrative backlog” as the process gets underway, and asked customers to be patient, and wait to be contacted rather than contacting the airline themselves.
Those looking for refunds for trips booked through WestJet Vacations are asked to continue following the process already in place.
“We are an airline that has built its reputation on putting people first,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said in a news release.
“We have heard loud and clear from the travelling public that in this COVID-19 world, they are looking for reassurance on two fronts: the safest possible travel environment; and refunds.
“We have been delivering on a safe environment through our Safety Above All program since the onset of the pandemic and as of Monday, Nov. 2, we will proactively provide refunds to original form of payment to itineraries cancelled by WestJet and Swoop.”
In a blog post on the WestJet website, Sims said the airline has been faced with a 95 per cent drop in demand, adding that for 72 days in a row, cancellations outnumbered bookings — a first in the company’s 25-year history.
Now, bookings are once again higher than cancellations, WestJet said, but still not on par with what they were before the pandemic hit.
More than 140 of WestJet’s 181 planes are currently parked, Sims said, and more than 4,000 employees have been laid off.
The airline also suspended its service in Atlantic Canada earlier this month, citing the coronavirus pandemic as making the service “unviable.”
— With files from The Canadian Press
Source: – Global News
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