So Apple and Google are working on an app that allows the user to be tracked. The purpose of this is to track the spread of COVID-19 and potentially know who and when someone should be in self quarantine. The word on the street is that it is OPT-IN only. Seriously? All the talk is about protecting users privacy. I get this and totally understand the thought process here. I do however think that in situations were peoples lives are at risk we should be opting for saving lives first then everything else is secondary.
Could you happily say to someone who has lost a relative to COVID-19. I’m sorry about that but my privacy is more important. At the time of writing this article over 126 000 people have died as a result of COVID-19. This will increase exponentially and I fail to see how privacy is more important than those 126 000 lives or the millions of more lives that can and probably will be lost to this virus.
There are a lot of rumours and whispers at the moment about China and how they managed their way through this crisis. WeChat is often discussed as one of their tracking methods. Apparently it was used to flag people as red, yellow or green. Red meaning you have the virus, yellow meaning you have been exposed and should be in self isolation and green meaning you are free to move around. If this is all the information is used for then great. But the fear is that it is then used to monitor people for other reasons breaching their human rights and disciplining people for speaking out against a regime.
Australia is a country that values democracy and respects in part peoples rights. Are we able to use the technology we have at our fingertips to monitor those who have the virus and allow better decisions to be made on isolation and testing required to beat the virus. If I could look at an app and know if i have been exposed to the virus I could then isolate and get the appropriate test done to find out if i am potentially putting other more vulnerable people at risk.
Most people in the modern world happily sign over their privacy rights to social media companies like Snap-chat, Instagram, Facebook all for a few likes and the ability to fit in, yet to do the same to save lives seems to much to ask. I am willing to put my privacy rights to the gutter to save 126 000 lives, are you?