Police Phone Tracking of Quarantine Contacts Heralds New Era in Virus War
The probability of Australian police using mobile phone tracking technology to track contacts of people infected with the coronavirus should not be seen as an intrusive Big Brother erosion of privacy rights.
The technology is already routinely used by police, but usually to track criminals. The gravity of the global COVID-19 pandemic means we have to use every possible technology to defeat the virus.
It’s been disclosed Australians could be tracked via their mobile phones to trace who they’ve come into contact with if diagnosed with coronavirus.
The Federal Government is studying a Singapore initiative, where a mobile phone application is being used to help with contact tracing.
Don’t be surprised if Australia follows suit.
But there’s a key change in using the technology for virus tracking.
Until now it’s been used to track specific criminals but the difference here is it will be mass surveillance. But if people are told to stay put. They need to do so. There are lives at stake here.
The TraceTogether application uses Bluetooth to detect other users in close proximity, with encounters stored on a person’s phone.
They then have to share the records with authorities when asked to be part of a contact tracing investigation. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government is looking at digital options for contact tracing.
There may be other techniques used by authorities which cannot be evaded by simply switching off Bluetooth. Cell towers track the location of mobile phones and people will not be able to avoidtracking by using VPNs as the phone connects to the closest cell tower. Is such surveillance legal?
In certain circumstances yes but even if it is not, the Government will find a way to make it legal as it is such an important issue. The coronavirus pandemic is no joke and we need to use every technology to hand to defeat it, and when people are required to quarantine they need to take it seriously.