On the surface, such technologies seem to be a useful tool for the containment and eventual eradication of the viral pandemic. What is worrying though are other more dubious uses that such tracking technologies are put to by authoritarian regimes that do not respect their citizens’ rights and liberties.
In previous posts I have covered some of the ways in which our personal freedoms and liberties are being eroded by both authoritarian governments and by so-called liberal democratic governments. From the use of physical hard-copy forms of identification, to personal data stored on credit cards and mobile phones, to surveillance and monitoring via CCTV cameras, to government and corporate access to personal data from our internet use, to facial recognition technology and more recently to bio-metric identification technology such as retinal and palm print scanning.
Much of the above, once the province of science-fiction has crept into our way of life quite stealthily but even more disturbingly with our willing compliance. We have simply allowed this intrusion into our lives to happen often for the sake of personal convenience. It has become such a part of our lives now so much so that we find we are unable to function in our society unless we are prepared to hand over control of much of our personal lives to corporate, government and bureaucratic entities.
Well, don’t be surprised if you find yourself fronting up to your workplace and having to undergo regular thermal imaging temperature checks. Don’t be shocked if you find yourself excluded from services and activities unless you provide proof of negative medical test results for the presence of Covid-19 or other medical conditions.
I remember a time when the only people who checked my temperature were my mother or the local doctor who actually made house calls. Soon we might be having businesses, corporations and retailers assessing and administering all kinds of medical checks to people. Would this be desirable?
What about when working from home becomes more widespread? Have no fear, for your employer will likely have recourse to remote monitoring of your activities! He, she or gender neutral will be able to monitor your key-strokes, your mood during Windows Meeting sessions, your location, your level of productivity, your emails and certain key words and phrases that provide vital information about you and your state of mind. Failure to comply may cost you your job or that promotion you are after.
Still sounds like science fiction? All this capability and more exists. All that’s needed is the justification to put it to use. I just hope that we haven’t found that justification in the form of a pandemic. Even worse, it may turn out to be a future consequence of it, one that we once again will wind up sleep-walking our way into and one like the current pandemic we cannot honestly say is totally unforeseen!
************Speaking of technological intrusion into our bodies, my next post will feature the 1966 sci-fi classic, Fantastic Voyage in which a scientist develops a blood clot in his brain. The only way to save him is by using the very technology he developed that can miniaturize matter, a technique that will allow a team of experts to enter his body to help him.
Stay tuned also for a post featuring a recommended book for film buffs, and not just lovers of science fiction.
I've been a bit slow lately while playing at being handy man (badly), wrestling with technology that doesn't like me, avoiding electrocution while repairing a vintage radio and trying to switch over to our country's new national broadband network.
See you soon! Stay healthy and safe!
©Chris Christopoulos 2020