The causes and consequences of COVID-19 misperceptions: Understanding the role of news and social media

We investigate the relationship between media consumption, misinformation, and important attitudes and behaviours during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We find that comparatively more misinformation circulates on Twitter, while news media tends to reinforce public health recommendations like social distancing. We find that exposure to social media is associated with misperceptions regarding basic facts about COVID-19 while the inverse is true...

Canada’s proposed contact-tracing app takes the right approach on privacy

I published an op-ed in the Globe and Mail taking a look at the announced Canadian government supported phone app COVID Alert, privacy concerns and potential benefits. Across Canada, people are taking measures to protect the rest of society: maintaining safe distances while waiting in line for stores, wearing masks and working from home. In a progressive society such as...

The differences between contact tracing and exposure notification

TIP – Tech Informed Policy has released its second briefing, the purpose of which is to provide an overview of the differences between contact tracing and exposure notification, and outline the current options for these technologies. We summarize the technical differences between the two approaches, and review the security and privacy risks, adoptability, and feasibility of three technologies: GPS-Based Contact...

All in this together: deservingness of government aid during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on governments to engage in widespread cash transfers directly to citizens to help mitigate economic losses. These programs are major redistribution efforts aimed at a variety of sub-groups within society (the unemployed, those with children, those with pre-existing health conditions, etc.) and there has been remarkably little resistance to these government outlays. We...

Evaluation questions to assess a digital contact tracing/exposure notification application

TIP – Tech Informed Policy has released its first briefing, the purpose of which is to provide a framework and approach for evaluating proposals for Bluetooth exposure notification (EN) and contact tracing (CT) applications. The briefing provides guiding evaluative questions which are partitioned into two key themes: privacy and security, and adoptability and implementation. The proposed questions serve as a...

La pandémie de COVID-19 unit les Canadienscomme aucun autre événement depuis desdécennies

L’attitude des Canadiens tranche avec la partisanerie politique observée aux États-Unis La pandémie de COVID-19 unit les Canadienscomme aucun autre événement depuis desdécenniesL’attitude des Canadiens tranche avec la partisanerie politique observée aux États-UnisUne nouvelle étude produite par des chercheurs de l’UniversitéMcGill et de l’Université de Toronto met en lumière un ample consensus, toutes allégeances confondues, dans lalutte contre la COVID-19...

Anti-intellectualism and Information Preferences during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates widespread voluntary and sustained public compliance with expert-guided public health directives, like social or physical distancing. Understanding which citizens seek out and engage with expert messages regarding COVID-19 is thus of central importance. Anti-intellectualism – the generalized distrust of experts and intellectuals – is likely to be a dominant factor. This note presents the results of...