As the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, life for some around the world is beginning to look a little more like it did before, except with some more distancing, and more people wearing masks. What doesn’t look the same, is how technology is being used to monitor and track cases, infection rates, and outbreaks.
While it’s hard to argue against using any technology to control such a deadly worldwide outbreak, we should also be aware of laws and programs that will erode away individual privacy rights along the way. While safety and keeping the virus under control should be a top priority, so should holding onto privacy rights.
In China, where the virus first became a pandemic, we have seen incredibly invasive privacy rights that are already in place. Throughout China, you will find surveillance cameras that utilize facial recognition technology, as well as phone scanners. They even billboard size screens that post the faces of jaywalkers, those accused of other crimes, and even those who have not paid their debts. With this technology, the Chinese government can monitor your travel, hotel stays, car travel, and with the phone scanners and other internet tracking technologies, they can even monitor all of your communications.
Now, under the guise of monitoring the spread of COVID-19, China has implemented further policies that invade the privacy rights of its citizens.