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How Coronavirus Is Eroding Privacy


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In January, South Korea began posting detailed location histories about people who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The growing use of digital surveillance technologies to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is raising concerns about the erosion of privacy.

Credit: Woohae Cho/The New York Times

Governments worldwide are using digital surveillance technologies to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, raising concerns about the erosion of privacy.

Many Asian governments are tracking people through their cellphones to identify those suspected of being infected with COVID-19, without prior consent.

European countries are tracking citizens' movements via telecommunications data that they claim conceals individuals' identities; American officials are drawing cellphone location data from mobile advertising firms to monitor crowds, but not individuals.

The biggest privacy debate concerns involuntary use of smartphones and other digital data to identify everyone with whom the infected had recent contact, then testing and quarantining at-risk individuals to halt the further spread of the disease.

Public health officials say surveillance will be necessary in the months ahead, as quarantines are relaxed and the virus remains a threat while a vaccine is developed.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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