Spying technology used to track health data has other uses too, and we should worry about its potentialby Rachael Jolley / June 17, 2020 / Leave a comment
Just a few days ago a large accounting firm, PwC, revealed it was developing facial recognition technology that could allow it to monitor staff working at home, and even be used to see when they took toilet breaks.
It was just one of a slew of news stories that show our right to privacy is being eroded right in front of our eyes.
A desperate need to adapt to Covid-19 has meant a whole set of tools has been introduced or expanded in both public spaces and in our homes. Apps, drones and facial recognition are all lined up to find out more about us, but sometimes we are giving away far more than we want to, without even knowing.
All over the world we are becoming more surveilled as we sign up to technologies that can report back on where we are, and potentially who we meet.
For a report for Index on Censorship magazine, “Private Lives, What Happens When Our Every Thought Goes Public,” we spoke to citizens around the world who were concerned about how their government is gathering information and what might happen to it.
In Hong Kong, for instance, free, re-usable masks are available to all if they register with ID cards.Residents told the magazine that they were thinking twice before signing up for the free masks, because the information could be used for other purposes. They also worried about the potential of a tracking app they are mandated to use if they leave the city.
In Turkey, another app is causing concern. While the Life Fits Home app allows patients to monitor their recovery, it also allows the state to monitor their movements, admitted health minister Fahrettin Koca in April.
Meanwhile President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clearly sees coronavirus as an opportunity to use his power to purge any awkward opposition, saying in April that he could get “rid of [Turkey’s] media and political viruses.”
Human rights activists worry about how the data will be used, and if this is the final straw for privacy and the idea of your home as a safe place where you can still speak freely. This is a country where scores of academics and journalists have been imprisoned in the past few years,…