While the details of the new monitoring system have not been confirmed, official statements and leaked plans have indicated they could include mobile apps that track users’ location, CCTV cameras with facial recognition software, QR codes, mobile phone data and credit card records.
The “electronic fence” uses mobile phone data to notify police if the cell phones of any people under mandatory quarantine leave their home areas.Using phone location data to track quarantined individuals is still concerning surveillance no matter the perceived public good.
While it’s perfectly fine for such an app to exist – especially as an alternative to using law enforcement man hours to physically check on at-risk quarantined patients, it would be a huge privacy concern if Poland decided to make every citizen download the COVID-19 selfie app.
Poland on Friday released an app which requires people in quarantine for COVID-19 to periodically send selfies of themselves on request to prove they're sticking to their quarantine."People in quarantine have a choice: either receive unexpected visits from the police, or download this app," a spokesman for Poland's Digital Ministry told the AFP.
Taiwan, which has won global praise for its effective action against the coronavirus, is rolling out a mobile phone-based “electronic fence” that uses location-tracking to ensure people who are quarantined stay in their homes.
The head of Israel’s shadowy Shin Bet internal security service said Tuesday that his agency received Cabinet approval overnight to start deploying the agency’s phone surveillance technology to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Israel, a move that sparked widespread criticism from lawmakers and civil rights groups.
Netanyahu’s Cabinet on Sunday authorized the Shin Bet security agency to use its phone-snooping tactics on coronavirus patients, an official confirmed, despite concerns from civil-liberties advocates that the practice would raise serious privacy issues.