Thanks to coronavirus. The
privacy battle may tilt in favour of surveillance.
The battle for data and
information goes way back. Governments, intelligence agencies, and corporations
have been after people’s data for a long time. From deploying an army of spies
to using innovative technologies, the aim has been the same.
The recent years saw an uptick in
the clamour for privacy. The fight against the evil got stronger. New
technologies promised an era of protection.
Could this coronavirus episode
reverse the privacy gains of the past? Likely.
Here’s why privacy is dead.
1. Caught with the pants-down
Governments were caught with
their pants-down. Now to control the pandemic, they are deploying all tools
available at their disposal. Governments will not take another chance anytime.
They will amend laws and bring extra ones to gain easy and timely access to the
2. The new normal
Several countries such as South
Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Israel have deployed apps to track users and
their behaviours. Once the crisis is over, the tracking is likely to stay, in
the interest of safety. The normal will be reset.
3. Fear Factor
Conspiracy theories aside, the
fear factor is real. The fear of what might happen during an outbreak, how to
tide over the crisis, and the need to protect loved ones are overwhelming. Vultures
are waiting to prey on the fear. Invasive solutions, in return for user data
such as tracking bracelets, will flood the markets once the crisis is beyond
4. Rules of Engagement in
Whether or not we like it, public
spaces will change. The access to public spaces will be controlled and will
require adhering to strict guidelines. It may not come as a surprise, if an
agency clears your travel plan first, based on the recent health records.
5. Access to Services
Like public spaces, access to
services will also transform. if you are looking for certain privilege, such as
visiting an office, you need to show good health first. You want your kid to
study in a physical school, it will be imperative to undergo a threat
The author Yuval Noah Harari, in
a recent open letter, says this: “When people are given a choice
between privacy and health, they will usually choose health.”
It doesn’t require a genius to guess what people will choose after a severe bitter episode.
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