Advertising companies with access to location data on millions of Americans decided to paint themselves heroes by using that data to track, at least in theory, whether or not people were following shelter-in-place guidelines or socially distancing.
The New York bill, supported by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the EFF, and Consumer Reports (among others), seeks to regulate the "collection of emergency health data and personal information and the use of technology to aid during COVID-19".
As the pandemic spring shifted to pandemic summer, what was once unthinkable has congealed into the new normal. With the U. S. seemingly unwilling or incapable of bringing the coronavirus to heel, a new future emerges on the horizon: a future where our remaining shreds of privacy have been reluctantly sacrificed.
As the Wall Street Journal reported in August, the Perry Township school district in Indianapolis plans to use a Motorola Solutions system of cameras to both identify if students are wearing masks and whether or not they’re socially distancing.
In this way, the surveillance technology heralded as a tool to reopen schools, businesses, and the country at large might instead, in the long run, make things worse for the groups of people already struggling the most.
A mandatory contact-tracing app in Qatar exposed the names, health status, and location data of over 1 million users. A U. S. contact-tracing app secretly shared location data with Foursquare.
As Motherboard reported in August, the Department of Homeland Security purchased location data generated by apps on millions of Americans’ phones.
You think about your part-time job, and wonder what data is being collected by the camera-tracking technology installed to monitor social distancing on the warehouse floor.
While we don’t have a national, comprehensive data privacy law, there are proposed COVID-19 privacy bills in Congress and the state legislatures of California, New York, and New Jersey.
Both the amount, and kind, of data being collected during the coronavirus crisis continues to expand.
In addition to being an invasion of privacy, such a system sets people up for potential harassment and stalking.
"Key principles of privacy protection should apply: collect the minimum necessary for the purpose at hand and keep the data only as long as necessary to serve that purpose".
It is also not news to the companies actively building, marketing, and selling new forms of surveillance technology meant to help track the daily habits of millions of Americans.
"Often when measures are introduced for a specific purpose, they linger on because people become acclimated," Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington, told the Wall Street Journal.
As the Wall Street Journal reported in February, such data has been purchased by DHS and used for "immigration and border enforcement".
The former is controversial, and may be ultimately worthless, while the latter is a tried and true public health measure that involves actually getting in touch with people who may have been exposed to the virus.
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