As previously blogged, China and South Korea have taken drastic Big Brother measures in controlling the spread of Covid 19. Are we next? Currently, America is training citizens to become contact tracers. This new position requires a five-hour online class through John Hopkins. Once trained, the contact tracer informs others if they have been in contact with an infected Covid 19 patient, and then convinces the exposed to stay home for 14 days. A contact tracer calls the potentially exposed and warns them, but cannot mention the name of the infected person that they may have been in contact with. Governor Cuomo plans on hiring at least 1000 contact tracers just for New York City, and 17,000 total for the state. Other states are also in a frenzy, hiring as many tracers that qualify.
Sounds pretty benign, and maybe it is. However, there are questions. Does the recently diagnosed Covid 19 patient openly tell her/his doctor about all of the people they might have exposed? If so, then the tracers have something legit to go on. But what if the Covid patient doesn’t say anything? How would the contact tracers know who to call and warn?
Cell phone location is currently being used in Europe, China, Israel, and South Korea. Is America also using it? Apparently, protection of the public supercedes privacy laws. And yes, California, with the help of Facebook maps, is using location data from cellphones. New Mexico and Colorado have also jumped on the bandwagon with more states to follow.
Facebook and Waze collect user information through GPS coordinates and Wifi signals. Bluetooth radios help public health officials. Google is also working alongside Facebook in the Covid tracking. These tech giants are working on a phone app that would require a code given to the Covid 19 paitent from his/her doctor. Through Wifi and GPS, anyone who came in contact with the Covid 19 patient would be alerted. The idea is that numeric codes would give some privacy to the identity of the Covid patients. This would eventually replace the contact tracers.
All of this sounds like good ideas, but trust is a major issue with many Americans. Do we trust Facebook, the U.S. government, and others to turn everything off once Covid 19 goes away? How would we even know? These “helpful” tools can be turned into illegal surveillance overnight. Love to hear your thoughts and views! Stay safe, mis amigos! And BTW, my compelling big-brother novel, Crowns and Cabals, is currently on sale for .99! Download a copy!