Edward Snowden and Covid Privacy

Edward Snowden recently had an interview with VICE in which he talks about his view of the COVID virus and the ways in which it has been handled by the government. During this interview Snowden references the use of cellphones to track people and COVID cases across America. The intention of this protocol is to track those who have tested positive for the virus and to quickly inform and warn others who have recently come in contact with that person. It’s almost ironic to me how there used to be sci-fi and horror movies where the plot was a government tracking all of their people through their devices and yet here we are. Now, not only does that occur, but many are thankful for it, as we are told it is being used to track COVID cases and limit further spreading. However, as Snowden mentions where does that line begin between helpful and harmful, how will we know when we cross it, and if we do, who will stop us from going further. The US government has been tracking and tracing its people for years, and it feels that the moment it is called to question, it is reinstated with another name or for another reason. Over the years we have lost so much of our privacy and most don’t even know it. I agree with Snowden’s concerns here about the future of America’s privacy, especially when it comes to international, or domestic, powers taking advantage of this lack of privacy in order to harm or take advantage of people. However, I also must recognize the importance of being able to track Covid cases. By being able to do so quickly and efficiently we are able to better adapt and hopefully limit the spread of Covid. The ability to track people in this way is a tool. A valuable tool that is currently protecting more people than we know. But as a tool, under the wrong hands it can be used as a weapon to harm or influence in ways we previously couldn’t have predicted.

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