Germany, Italy, Britain, Australia and Chile have expressed their interest in a new technology recently launched.
Already being tested in a pilot project with around 1.5 million participants who have downloaded a mobile app that alerts users who have crossed paths with a coronavirus patient.
The application is a technological means to give the public the ability to know accurately and immediately if they had come into contact with a person who was infected with the Covid-19 virus. In the first week of the pilot launch, 50,000 app users reported that they have self-quarantined.
The app raises all sorts of questions regarding hard won freedoms and human rights with already some raising concerns should government security services access the data. The app can also be used to follow credit card purchase data and other digital information for possible analysis.
The app can be used to alert and order into quarantine people who were within two metres, for 10 minutes or more, of someone infected with the virus. As Covit-19 is highly infectious at close range of human contact this is very helpful.
Another company that is supporting this pilot project has their own coronavirus monitoring app that is planned to be rolled out in several of India’s states as a pilot project. This app is based upon the development of a “virtual command platform” that replaces walkie-talkies with smart phones using their capabilities like GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi to measure distances between objects in real-time.
Yet another project that has evolved as a result of the pandemic is an app capable of diagnosing Covid-19 based on the sound of someone’s voice. There is no doubt in my mind that the pandemic has initiated a global technological response which will accelerate how apps will affect the way we live after the crisis.
After the Second World War, the notion of human rights and civil liberties – previously believed to be out of reach for the citizens of most countries was increasingly accepted by a growing number of nations. In addition, since the mid-1970s, a staggering number of countries have turned from dictatorship to elected civilian government. First came southern Europe – Portugal, Greece, and Spain. In the 1980s, the wave hit Latin America – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. In 1992, El Salvador ended a war that took the lives of 75,000 civilians. In the 1980s and early 1990s, at least 15 African nations moved away from repressive one-party rule and held multiparty elections. After 1989, the Soviet bloc completed the avalanche.
With so many of us today living in fear as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, are we now at a tipping point? Will we be willing participants sacrificing hard won freedoms as we struggle with this new world, we have only now awoken to?
I’ll leave you with the words of Francis Fukuyama, “Human beings are rule-following animals by nature; they are born to conform to the social norms they see around them, and they entrench those rules with often transcendent meaning and value. When the surrounding environment changes and new challenges arise, there is often a disjunction between existing institutions and present needs. Those institutions are supported by legions of entrenched stakeholders who oppose any fundamental change.”
Gordon is the former president and chief executive of BMMI. He can be reached at [email protected]