Expanding personal surveillance during and after the outbreak is very similar to expanding surveillance in the name of the fight against terrorism and national security. If anything, the characteristics of the latter are magnified.
Over the years, with increasing observation and declining privacy, we know that more observation has recurring features:
- Government assurances about the use of a limited amount of personal information are not worth it – data on information obtained by agencies other than the ones originally suggested for sneaky and unauthorized use may be inaccessible.
- The risk is to gather information first, not the security that comes with it. Governments cannot protect themselves from future intrusion, operational intrusion, future governments and technological advances
- The media, which is seen as a watchdog against the power of the state, will help erode privacy, even if it is a threat to journalism.
- The benefits of surveillance are being over-marketed and governments failing to take more conventional security measures.
Public health advisers for personal security have a much more convincing set of arguments than national security advisers: the latter can only mention the risk of terrorism and often close arguments, insisting that they cannot go into operational details. Public health consultants can point to a database of deaths and illnesses, hospitalizations, and so on to justify privacy cuts. National Security Advisers – Most of them acknowledge that there is an honest debate about at least a balance between security and privacy. There is no debate for those who advocate for public health – individual rights must be violated in the name of public safety.
On the other hand, public health monitoring works in the same way. Just as many organizations other than the ones we were told were able to obtain metadata, police agencies in a number of states have in many cases accessed access data to conduct non-compliance investigations. The government’s promise to delete data after a limited time has been proven to be false.
The disaster of the COVIDSafe application strictly adhered to national security regulations. It was released with significant flaws that could be abused. It was directed by the media to anyone who doubted its usefulness or whose personality was absurdly demonized. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it an effective panacea for the plague, comparing it to sunlight against the Kovid virus and covering the benefits far too much. Despite having nearly 150,000 patients, the benefits were largely small, with only twice the number of contacts identified via COVIDSafe.
New monitoring methods have emerged as vaccinations end and employers return to normal. Vaccination passports and the requirements to show them will become a part of normal life. More and more potential employees are being tested by employers to avoid hiring health risks in the workplace. Employer concerns about litigation from infected people in their workplace may increase workplace health monitoring.
This is another dimension of public health monitoring that is not the same as national security monitoring, which is largely pushed by the security agencies and the companies that directly benefit from it. Public health monitoring is conducted not only by health institutions, the public health lobby and the companies that benefit from it, but also by employers across the economy who know that they can be less concerned about the suppression of terrorism but will face significant risk if they fail. To establish adequate monitoring systems related to Kovid. It is an environment that can only be dreamed up by people like ASIO, AFP and Home Secretary Mike Pesulo and Defense Minister Peter Dutton.
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However, unlike citizens of other countries, Australians are unable to properly discuss public health as a balance between security and privacy. Australians have fundamental rights under our Constitution or any legal framework to enforce them, so there is no political language around rights or a mature institutional framework to protect them. Moreover, people who were outraged by the loss of rights in the plague spring, with a political mentality, were hostile to any kind of institutional rights – even though many of their ideas, slogans and conspiracy theories were imported from America.
Wealthy people with the potential to lose high court cases can go on the hunt for their rights, but at best they face a more difficult challenge than others in trying to turn their backs on governments. It has been proven that there can be no genuine debate when it comes to protecting ourselves from a virus. Our journey to Panopticon is faster than ever.