The US government continues to have the right to snoop on internet users' browsing histories, as well and also internet search histories. A bill that would have stripped the government of its right to conduct the searches with no warrant failed in the
The bipartisan bill, an amendment to a surveillance authority first established under the 2001 Patriot Act, was sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, and Montana Republican Steve Daines. But the amendment required 60 votes to move forward,
and the final Senate vote was 59-37 in favor.
A coronavirus check will include, facial recognition, providing personal information, a check against criminal records, a check on the car, and an app with location tracking to keep tabs on your whereabouts in Phuket
Phuket is a holiday island in Thailand that is accessed by road via a single bridge to the mainland. In the name of coronavirus monitoring the Phuket authorities have introduced an horribly invasive computerised checkpoint on the bridge.
on people crossing the bridge will include a temperature check with a facial recognition detection system connected with the public health database. In the case detection of a traveller has contracted the Covid-19 virus, police will be alerted at the
checkpoints along with National Emergency Notification Center staff.
But that is just the beginning of it. The Phuket Smart Check Point will also include scanning for suspect vehicles involved in crimes, and checking the traveller's criminal
The Check Point will also require travellers to register and supply personal information. This will be kept on record for subsequent crossings and will be used for unspecified analysis by the authorities, including for the suppression of
The system comes with an app that can be used as a tracking device allowing authorities to see where your current location is in the province.
Google's sister company Side Walk Labs has abandoned its smart city development in Toronto citing the effects of coronavirus on the property market.
Chief executive Dan Doctoroff explained in a blog post:
It is with
great personal sadness and disappointment that I share that Sidewalk Labs will no longer pursue the Quayside project.
For the last two-and-a-half years, we have been passionate about making Quayside happen -- indeed, we have
invested time, people, and resources in Toronto, including opening a 30-person office on the waterfront. But as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the
12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community. And so, after a great deal of deliberation, we concluded that it no longer
made sense to proceed with the Quayside project, and let Waterfront Toronto know yesterday.
Both the state and commercial sector have a disgraceful record of respecting people's data privacy. From the state's viewpoint, surveillance data is way too valuable, for law enforcement, censorship and societal control, to allow people to have any
avenue for privacy. Meanwhile commercial companies, notably Facebook, Google, credit reference agencies, and more or less any website that wants to earn a bit more money from advertising, have all abused people's data mercilessly. And then of course
there are also the hackers, scammers and identity thieves that prey on any data they can steal.
And every one of these snoopers has been continually claiming that they can be trusted with your data. It doesn't matter how often their lies are found
out, they continue to make the same claims.
It is little wonder then that a significant number of people are a little unwilling to sign up for Big Brother surveillance, however well intentioned, the state, and its commercial partners, simply can't
Something that perhaps politicians are starting to realise in Australia. The government as been aggressively pushing its covid tracking app for a week or so, but has got nowhere near the required take up.
app was launched on Sunday April 26. About a million people downloaded it within the first day, but that trailed off with only a tenth of that installing it by the end of the week. The current tally is that about 4 million people downloaded the app, out
of a population of about 26 million.
The Federal Government has warned that millions more Australians need to download the app and has threatened that if they don't, then the lockdown won't be eased.
In fact opposition to the app has
appeared even from the Australian panel of experts working to fight the pandemic.One of Australia's top advisers to the World Health Health Organisation refuses to download the app. University of NSW professor Mary-Louise McLaws said until she knew more
about where the data it collected was stored and secured, she couldn't install it. In particular she is concerned the personal data could be accessed through Amazon's servers under U.S. law.
The government has resorted to all but declaring the
40% threshold is necessary for pubs to open and life to go back to normal. Critics slammed this rhetoric as emotional blackmail, noting that it is hardly likely to win people over.
Of course one of the possible outcomes is that the authorities could
go down the Chinese route and make the app more or less mandatory.