The coronavirus continues to adversely affect many countries, and governments are taking various measures to prevent further spread of the virus. These measures include tracking phone data.
The coronavirus infecting almost all the countries of the world leaves many countries in a difficult situation. Governments use various methods to prevent the spread of the disease. One of the tools used to prevent smartphones.
Top10VPN indexed countries that follow smartphones to fight disease. Smartphone chases go from tracking patients who are suspected of being used to anonymously to monitor people’s movements in general, and who they are in contact with.
Top10VPN Digital Rights Manager Samuel Woodhams, who compiled the index, warned that the world could permanently shift to this kind of increased surveillance. Woodhams stated that these new and extreme intrusive measures could become the norm around the world, while citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression could be compromised.
Countries starting to track phone data
South Korea gives detailed information about where the patients are
South Korea has a much more intrusive attitude towards using phone data than any other country. A public map is created by following the patients’ phones so that other people can find out if their paths cross with the coronavirus patient.
Also, not only tracked phone data is used on this map. Credit card records and even face to face interviews with patients are used. Thus, a retrospective map of where the patients are located is created.
The overly intrusive approach of the South Korean government doesn’t just end here either. Using this data, the government also sends a message to its citizens that they may have encountered a patient with a virus. These messages even share highly personal data, such as the person’s gender, age, and where he went before he was hospitalized.
Iran asks citizens to download an app
According to a report in the Vice, the Iranian government has deemed the coronavirus detection application to collect real-time location data of its users. On March 3, millions of Iranians were asked to install the application called AC19 before going to the hospital or health center.
The application, which diagnosed coronavirus by asking users questions that can be answered as yes and no, was removed from the Google Play Store.
Israel passed a new law to spy on its citizens
With a new law approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 17, the Israeli Security Agency will be able to track Israeli phone data without a court order. In addition, according to the law, data must be deleted 30 days after collection.
There is an application in Singapore that can track 2 meters of infected patients.
The Singapore Government Technology Agency and the Ministry of Health developed an app called TraceTogether on March 20. The application is used to detect people approaching infected patients more than 2 meters for at least 30 minutes. In the promotional video of the application, it is stated that data that can determine the location or personal data are not collected.
Taiwan can determine when people in quarantine leave their homes
Taiwan activated an application called “electronic fence”. This application informs the authorities when someone who needs to be in quarantine in his home leaves home. Taiwan Cyber Security Department Manager Jyan Hong-wei says the aim is to prevent people from spreading the virus.
Austria uses anonymized data to track people’s movements
Telecom Austria AG, the largest telecom company in Austria, announced on March 17 that the anonymized location data was shared with the government. Woodhams told Business Insider that the data sets collected were less intrusive than other measures, but the issue of how to use this data in the future is still alarming.
Belgium uses anonymous data
The Belgian government has allowed the use of anonymized data from local telecom companies.
Germany follows where people are going
Deutsche Telekom announced on March 18 that data would be shared with Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control center. Company spokesperson said to Die Welt; In this way, he said that they can identify how people travel across the country.
Anonymized location data is also used in Italy
An agreement has been signed with telecom operators to share anonymized location data in Italy, where the coronavirus is most affected. According to the report in The Guardian, Italy accused 40 thousand people of violating the isolation law on 18 March.
Similar methods are considered in the UK
No formal action has yet been taken in the UK, but talks are being held with telecom operators to share anonymized data, as in other European countries.