Unusual in democratic nations, many governments are using technology tools. They say that they are doing this under the guise of fighting the coronavirus. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead for the implementation of measures that would make possible the development of a “sovereign” Russian internet. It would be out of danger with respect to other countries in the world. In fact, at the moment, the pandemic is being the moment that Russia has taken advantage of to test technologies. For this reason, there is a general fear that the government is developing new methods of surveillance. Bad ones.
Possibly, the greatest dissemination efforts have been devoted to the facial recognition system of the capital Moscow, among the tools to fight the coronavirus. But the reaction to this technology, which was implemented in early 2020, has not been positive. Many felt that it was a way for the government to invade their privacy. Thus, there were those who resorted to justice to claim that this tool would be a means of illegal surveillance.
Surveillance measures around the world
Moscow police said they were able to arrest and fine 200 individuals who disobeyed orders to remain in quarantine. This, they affirmed, was due to facial recognition and the use of 170,000 cameras in the city. Epidemiology experts say it is important to have data analysis and tracking tools to contain the pandemic. However, Russia took a differentiated approach.
The government has issued a decree that says it will use the system of tracking collected data to communicate with those who had contact with a person infected with the coronavirus. In addition, it can alert regional governments of who should be quarantined.
Despite all the efforts, the truth is that Russia is just one of the countries that have strengthened its surveillance system in order to reduce the contamination of the coronavirus.
The South Korean government has promoted the identification of those infected with the coronavirus due to the technology. They do this through credit card data, phone tracking, and surveillance images. However, the government affirmed that they don’t identify the names of these people.
Israel made a change in the surveillance service in order to screen people infected with the coronavirus or suspected of having the virus. In this sense, a tool is very similar to that of Russia. The country develops surveillance using telephone and credit card data. Through it, the country’s Ministry of Health stated that it is possible to put people who have had contact with infected people in quarantine.
Surveillance in other countries
In the European Union, the countries obtain the data thanks to telephone operators. According to Reuters, they have provided data to health officials in Italy, Austria, and Germany. They do this to help implement social detachment. The United States, for its part, has analyzed the possibility of using data collected by technological companies for the same purpose.
The scary thing is that the epidemic will end someday. However, these government surveillance measures may remain threatening democracies.