The American Whistleblower Edward Snowden has said in an interview that emergency powers born out of crisis such as mass surveillance for tracking COVID-19 victims would never go away.
For those who don’t know, Edward Snowden is a former NSA-employee who released classified government documents to the media back in 2013. He did so to uncover the unethical mass surveillance activities that were conducted by the NSA.
Criticizing the data abuse, he said the governments are using Coronavirus to build an “architecture of oppression.” And that there is no guarantee that “these data sets will not be kept.”
As the impact of Coronavirus worsens, companies and governments have come up with several surveillance methods to curb the spread.
In South Korea, the government is using camera footage, smartphone location data, and credit card purchase records to track patients. Israel and Italy have resorted to smartphone location data to see if people are obeying lockdown laws.
Meanwhile, Google and Apple have confirmed to roll out a Bluetooth-Powered Coronavirus Tracker that will take advantage of contact tracing — a method that tracks all the people who came near a COVID-19 victim.
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Edward Snowden, on the other hand, claims in the interview that contact tracing doesn’t work on a pandemic scale.
According to Snowden, the location data collected in contact tracing cannot be “anonymized in a meaningful way” when we are dealing with so many people.