Countless warnings about how law enforcement could use contact tracing apps to monitor people have gone unheeded.
As BGR.com revealed, police are using contact tracing to identify protesters’ affiliations.
According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harringon, officials there have been using what they describe, without going into much detail, as contact-tracing in order to build out a picture of protestor affiliations — a process that officials in the state say has led them to conclude that much of the protest activity there is being fueled by people from outside coming in.
A Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing” revealed how police are using contact tracing to identify and arrest protesters. “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they’ve begun contact tracing arrestees.”
Recently, 100 human rights groups warned that an Apple/Google contact tracing app could be used as a cover to identify activists and minorities.
An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities—undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.
So despite all assurances to the contrary, it appears that 100 human rights groups were right; law enforcement can and will use contact tracing to identify protesters.
As NBC News noted, contact tracers also use geofencing to help identify protesters.
“Geofencing” captures the social media posts of people entering a specific area. The technology locates any cellphones that cross into the area by locking onto their geolocation systems, and then records social media posts and sometimes other data from the phones.
Time exposed how the military (National Guard) uses a classified system called “Secret Internet Protocol Router” or SIPR to monitor protesters. (To learn about Perspecta Inc.’s role click here & here.)
Big Tech’s hands are dirty with federal money paying for new ways to monitor Americans.