Coronavirus (COVID-19), which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) can cause serious health problems in humans and animals.
China, which has initiated its response to the virus, relies heavily on technology to track and fight the pandemic, with technology leaders such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and more than a dozen other companies accelerating. Tech startups have teamed up with doctors, scientists, and government agencies around the world to activate the technology as the viruses continue to spread to many other countries. Perhaps the most commonly used technology by governments is tracking people’s whereabouts through location information provided by their phones to determine where an infected person has gone before quarantine and how many people are near a patient.
South Korea, China, and Taiwan have also widely used tracking to limit the transmission of the virus. Israel has allowed its internal security agencies to use the location data of its citizens for 30 days.
Last month, it introduced a system to track who coronavirus patients may have come into contact with. Governments around the world are weighing the need to curb the virus against citizens “privacy, with privacy being lost in some cases. While Europe has strict data protection laws, Germany and Italy use anonymized location data to determine where people gather in public spaces and in groups to defy barriers.
As a result, some governments are taking unusual measures to combat the outbreak, including the use of monitoring tools. Authorities in Moscow are using data from the National Health Service and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to catch people who violate quarantine and self-isolation rules.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the most widely used tools in the world is the use of smartphone data from mobile networks.
Governments around the world are using the technology to track outbreaks of the coronavirus to stem their spread. One of the biggest problems is that the collection of certain data, such as the telephone location, has not proved effective in tracking the spread of viruses. The organization argues that it is only accurate within a 16-foot radius and can cause serious health problems for people within that radius.
The human rights group asks how long this will take and whether there is a violation of privacy, as well as about the security of data collection.
Interestingly, heightened mistrust in the media camp is part of a public health emergency that has partly contributed to the government’s decision to deploy surveillance infrastructure to combat the epidemic. The government – installed CCTV cameras will be aimed at the apartment doors during the 14-day quarantine to ensure they are not left out. This is a way to mobilize the world’s second-largest economy to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Although it is too early to say how successful these efforts are in containing the outbreak and limiting the damage, the opaque presence of surveillance technology has put the spotlight on the use of facial recognition technology in the field of public health. Facial recognition is already widespread in the United States, so it is only natural to use it to track travelers and pedestrians in the hope of identifying suspected carriers of the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced plans to deploy a fever detection system at major Beijing train stations that can detect abnormal body temperatures.
European experts said Wednesday they have launched a pilot project to track and trace people who have come into contact with the infected coronavirus to help health authorities act quickly to stop its spread.
The initiative proposes to identify people who test positive for the virus when their smartphones are nearby and to identify other infection risks. The ability to track infection risk more closely could make it easier to relieve the country – a far-reaching lockout that has brought economic activity to a near standstill in many countries.
The technology used by governments around the world aims to detect where infected people are and monitor quarantine. But human rights organizations argue that governments may find it difficult to reduce surveillance capacity if it increases. Moreover, experts are concerned that surveillance tools such as personal and location data may not even be effective, and that there may be no timetable for when governments will stop collecting this type of information.
More than 63,925 people around the world have now died of COVID-19, but life seems to go on with a sense of normality. Some countries have taken draconian measures to seal off borders, seal off countries and cities around the world, and stem their spread. These steps aim to promote social detachment, stay at home, and reduce transmission among people.
The city has been locked out by the government, but business continues and many works from home. Dozens are lining up this week to buy their state-rationed face masks, and business is booming.