Snowden: COVID-19 Tracking Tools Will Make Mass Surveillance A Norm


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.

The emergency never ends. It becomes normalized. When you talk about mass surveillance, the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping program, only part of it was shut down, and it’s rolled over, and it’s rolled over, and it’s rolled over.

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.” 

Other countries will have this data eventually. In your country, a different president will have control of this data eventually, and someone will abuse it.

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.

Edward Snowden, on the other hand, claims in the interview that contact tracing doesn’t work on a pandemic scale.

The problem is if you’re not tracking one infection or 100 infections, but you’re tracking 100,000 infections, contact-tracing quickly becomes useless. 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.

And then there’s this big question of, well, where does all that information go? How is it controlled? Who’s it being used — It’s information about me. I should have some influence over it.
Charanjeet Singh

Charanjeet Singh

Charanjeet owns an iPhone but his love for Android customization lives on. If you ever ask him to choose between an iPhone, Pixel or Xiaomi; better if you don't.
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