It has been months since countries started fighting the Covid-19 outbreak. In the face of the global public health emergency, governments around the world have turned to utilize surveillance technologies to track COVID-19 cases.
What data are the governments gathering in the name of public health? Will these technologies be in use after the pandemic?
Check the infographic below to learn more about what Israel, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the US are tracking. A common tool among these countries is the use of real-time location tracking to monitor quarantined and confirmed cases, and to ensure social distancing to track COVID-19
Israel, Iran, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have been tracking the smartphone’s location data of the suspected and quarantined cases. In South Korea, private lives and movements of diagnosed patients have been exposed to the public. In the US, Big Tech like Facebook and Google has been exploring ways to map and predict movement trends. In China, new facial recognition software is used to surveil its citizens.
These technologies have given rise to privacy concerns among the public and digital rights groups. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is concerned that technologies such as thermal imaging and facial recognition would threaten freedom and intrude privacy.
Are users aware that their information is being collected? Are there rules governing using and sharing of these data? The EFF suggests limiting government surveillance powers and setting an expiration to the data collected.
Although these new measures are launched aiming at containing the pandemic, it still begs the question: Will the surveillance technologies be in use after the crisis? Considering the surveillance technology trend before the outbreak, such as using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in smart cars and surveillance gadgets, it is likely that these technologies will be here to stay.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.