Remember: Governments Always Maintain Surveillance Tech Long After The Threat Is Contained
I’m Freddy, a privacy and security conscious, open-source, amateur developer and writer.
If you’ve been following the news recently then you’ve probably heard someone use the phrase “the new normal”. It suggests that this new lifestyle is now normal and may continue to be normal even once the pandemic is over.
While there are positive connotations, there are also bad implications for our liberties. It allows for temporary measures put in place to fight the pandemic to stay in place well after because they are considered normal. Unfortunately, it’s happening all over the world right now.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel recently authorised the Israel Security Agency to deploy surveillance technology normally reserved for battling terrorists to track coronavirus patients. When the relevant parliamentary subcommittee refused to authorise the measure, Netanyahu rammed it through with an “emergency decree”.
Historically, it has been proven that Governments tend to maintain surveillance methods in pandemics long after the crisis is over. When the Patriot act was passed after 9/11 it was set out to “deter and punish terrorist acts” as well as “enhancing law enforcement investigatory tools”. It had good intentions, but it is now used for many other reasons.
PATRIOT gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused.
We can all be misled in times of crisis. Hindsight is only an option when the problem has already happened.
This is why we must continue to watch our governments. We must keep a keen eye on what they do to help stop the spread of the virus. We must adapt to the constant changes, and ensure that steps in the right direction are kept.
Equally as important, we must make sure that the surveillance they are doing now is not continued, much like it has been before.