About a month ago, European nations laughed when the Polish government ordered any of their citizens who came back from abroad to install a tracking app in order to combat Covid-19. Some 90,000 poles have done this until now. Some have written feisty articles about the whole ordeal, saying that they couldn’t believe they were in a real live version of George Orwell’s 1984.
Here’s how it works. The Polish government wants you to self-isolate for 14 days in order to make sure you are not a possible carrier of the disease.
In order to check up on you, the app that you have installed will, at random times during the day send you a message. Upon receipt, you have 20 minutes to take a selfie.
Thanks to the GPS-data of the app, it determines whether or not the selfie was taken at home.
If it was not, the police is notified (to eventually track you down) and you receive a hefty fine. Internet commenters in Warsaw have uploaded the app’s terms and conditions. Your data is stored for 6 years.
Australia considering similar app
The Australian government of Prime Minister Scott Morrisson is meanwhile considering another downloadable app, which they hope some 40% of Australians will sign onto.
Their app would be opt-in only and not mandatory. It is understood this app would plot who had spent 15 minutes or more in close proximity with a person who proves to be COVID-19 positive.
“We need a greater degree of tracing capability for contacts, and that can happen much more quickly than it does now,” Mr Morrison commented.
“We need a greater health capacity to be able to respond to these sort of outbreaks and respond very effectively.”
Silicon Valley wants more of your data
In the US, the government has asked the billionaires of Silicon Valley to develop a likeminded app. The San Francisco elite has by now mostly fled to mansions in New Zealand or underground bunkers if rumors are to be believed, but thanks to development teams with a rich history in gathering and tracking data, combining the above mentioned projects to an app which will share all your personal movements with the government should be no problem at all.
Professor Zuboff was absolutely right in her outstanding non-fiction work last year. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism has now started.
Thanks to a virus, we are now ready to give away a last part of privacy to a surveillance state.
For, make no mistake, this is the choice you are making: do you want freedom of movement in an age of Covid-19? Then give away all your data.