More and more cities are considering and even enforcing the stay at home order to mitigate an insane workload for the healthcare sector as more people get sick. Over the past few weeks, even as Americans were advised to socially distance, you could still find spring breakers flooding the beaches of Florida and probably other places all around the country. As it becomes more imperative to track the coronavirus, the U.S government will be using data provided by mobile devices in order to track the virus.
“The goal is to create a government portal with geolocation information from some 500 cities across the country, to help ascertain how well people are complying with stay-at-home orders, according to the WSJ. One example of how the anonymized data was reportedly used: Researchers discovered large numbers of people were gathering in a New York City park and notified local authorities.
The use of even anonymized data raises myriad privacy concerns, with privacy advocates urging limits on how much data can be used and prevent its use for other purposes, the WSJ reported.” [The Verge]
Earlier this week, there was a video that surfaced and showed two things. For on, it showed the incredible amount of ground that one relatively small group of spring breakers can cover. On the other hand, it showed how accurate the government could track people based off of their cell phone signals alone.
Want to see the true potential impact of ignoring social distancing? Through a partnership with @xmodesocial, we analyzed secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during spring break. This is where they went across the US: pic.twitter.com/3A3ePn9Vin
— Tectonix GEO (@TectonixGEO) March 25, 2020
The Verge reports that service providers have in some European counties have provided the European Union with location data. China also has a system in place where tracking information gets sent to local law enforcement.
Countless controversies having to do with privacy been addressed and have been a consistent topic of discussion over the past decade. So whenever any government tracking is discussed, it is done so negatively. There have been many situations where power was abused by those who could spy on millions. Is this situation different? Yes, this is a whole different playing field. We aren’t talking about a situation where some monopoly is trying to profit from personal data. At this point the safety of millions of people is at stake. After the whole spring break … it has been made clear that there are a lot of people who don’t care if the coronavirus spreads. Right now, we all have a responsibility to continue to social distance; hopefully, people get it in their right mind to do so without the government having to take further action.
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