Beware Google’s Dystopian COVID-19 Surveillance – It’s Straight Out of Orwell’s ‘1984’
By Aral Bereux
Straight out of 1984 and into 2020 with one giant leap. Orwell is turning in his grave as the powers of Google track you and share the surveillance data with governments that ask.
What’s the take-away from this?
The COVID-19 virus, which originated in Wuhan, China after a 6-week cover-up by the Chinese Communist Party, has given world governments an excuse to partner with Google and track users’ location history, giving us an insight to just how much private information Silicon Valley stores and knows about us.
“As global communities respond to COVID-19, we’ve heard from public health officials that the same type of aggregated, anonymized insights we use in products such as Google Maps could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19,” Google released, attempting to skew its mountain of intrusive data collection as a positive for the people.
The old saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” works both ways, and now we can see as this occurring crisis unfolds just how much our ‘democratic’ lives are documented for government officials.
Spoken like a true Big Brother, Google explains how tracking users’ devices is necessary and helpful to officials for the pandemic.
“We hope these reports will help support decisions about how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” Google added.
And Google might be correct in saying this, depending on what side of the pandemic you sit, but the data they gathered doesn’t justify their previous surveillance before the world’s greatest lockdown.
The data released is certainly interesting. Data gleaned from smartphones and smart devices shows trips to the pharmacy, supermarkets and even recreation (and probably down to your heart rate and fitness level) are tracked. Trips to the park are monitored, as are those to the transit stations, and leaves one wondering on the lingering effects once this pandemic is over.
Ironically, Google states there are no breaches in users’ privacy and goes on to say they’re protecting us.
But one advertising executive disagreed when interviewed by MintPress News.
“Your name is only one data point,” they said. “The layers and layers of information you’re giving it,” like your address, interests, and the social media accounts you keep frequenting, make it “beyond easy” to identify the user.
“It’s you whether you like it or not, even if your name’s not attached to it,” they said.
Couple this capturing of location data with the global introduction of paying with your phone because cash carries the COVID-19 virus—a claim that remains unsubstantiated within the scientific community and even WHO—hints at the dystopian nature of things to come, one that privacy advocate Edward Snowden has been warning us about for years.
It’s a slow and gentle nudge for the frog in warm water as they dial up the heat. Demonising cash to push the consumer into carrying a phone to pay for groceries only serves Google’s tracking ability. The CCP have used this process for some time now, creating a Social Credit Score around surveillance to document and dictate to its citizens where they can work, travel and educate their children.
The location data and surveillance abuse is serious. In a post COVID society, will governments roll back this ability? I think the answer is obvious.
Google executives Eric Schmidt and fellow Google executive Jared Cohen bragged in a book titled “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” how “what Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century … technology and cyber-security companies [like Google] will be to the twenty-first,” Julian Assange reported at the time.
Although governments world-wide will have us believe in the COVID crisis and thus have us believe that tracking the enemy (your neighbour) is a positive sign for a global community, the high-level surveillance tactics are worrying and unprecedented.
So if you’re concerned with the government tracking you, take advantage of the downtime that the lockdown has given you and switch off. Disconnect yourself from Google and more importantly . . . leave your smartphone and smartwatch at home. Insist on paying with cash and shut down anyone who says surveillance is for the greater cause.
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Categories: Analysis, Covid-19, Health, Technology
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