Saturday, March 7, 2020

The West Is One Real Crisis Away From a Skynet-Style Surrender of Privacy

In a 2015 video, Microsoft's Joseph Sirosh described the advantages of wiring up a herd of cows to the cloud application via a motion sensor. One of the farmer's problems is determining when a cow is in estrous so it can be artificially inseminated during the short period it is fertile. Motion sensors can pick up the abnormal restlessness of cows in heat with 95% accuracy, leading to immense benefits for the Japanese farmers who implemented the system of connected cows.

The Chinese Communist Party used the same system to inform and guide its quarantine during the recent Covid-19 outbreak: "China used locational and other data from hundreds of millions of smartphones to contain the spread of Covid-19, according to Chinese sources familiar with the program."

In addition to draconian quarantine procedures, which kept more than 150 million Chinese in place at the February peak of the coronavirus epidemic, China used sophisticated computational methods on a scale never attempted in the West....

As the outbreak spreads in the West, some will demand the creation of an equivalent system -- in the interests of public health, of course. It is here where the absence of public policy treating private data as property and speech will be most felt. Google is already able to provide exactly the same information the Chinese Communist Party uses pursuant to a request from law enforcement.
The new orders, sometimes called “geofence” warrants, specify an area and a time period, and Google gathers information from Sensorvault about the devices that were there. It labels them with anonymous ID numbers, and detectives look at locations and movement patterns to see if any appear relevant to the crime. Once they narrow the field to a few devices they think belong to suspects or witnesses, Google reveals the users’ names and other information. ...
Google 'Connected Cows'

More on 'geofence' data: