More from: ADAM SCHWARTZ

Dangerous consequences of the Cold War

Scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Credit: NIAID-RML. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I suppose we could call it the Chinese Cold Virus, or maybe the Cold War of 2020. Our “social distancing” quarantine The Great Wall of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 cold virus is a modified cold virus that escaped laboratories in China apparently through bats (see COVID-19 Emergence) sold in a “wet” meat market near the research facility. The Chinese Cold Virus has spread globally into what is globally accepted to be a pandemic.

Diagram of COVID-19

Diagram of COVID-19, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_COVID-19

We are presently battling this virus in what could honestly be referred to as a Cold War, and the stakes are life or death for the elders and those among us with weak immune systems. Reliable information is updated daily at 10:00AM EDT on the official US government Center for Disease Control web site at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and in Indiana on the official Indiana State Department of Health web site at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/.

Inherent in this global effort to slow the spread of the disease so that all infected can receive life saving health care are many voluntary suspensions of individual liberty that are clearly not within the constitutionally granted powers of government, but with which we as sovereign individual citizens voluntarily choose to comply in the interest of the well being of ourselves and our communities. The danger is that these voluntary deprivations of individual liberty could become government expectations, rather than temporary voluntary individual accommodations of government requests.

The following article summary is from an Electronic Frontier Foundation article by MATTHEW GUARIGLIA and ADAM SCHWARTZ MARCH 10, 2020 and can be read at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/protecting-civil-liberties-during-public-health-crisis and worth a read. Importantly it lists some of the civil rights violations being used to slow spread of the disease and restrictions that must be placed upon those civil rights violations to prevent them from becoming permanent.

Special efforts by public health agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19 are warranted. In the digital world as in the physical world, public policy must reflect a balance between collective good and civil liberties in order to protect the health and safety of our society from communicable disease outbreaks. It is important, however, that any extraordinary measures used to manage a specific crisis must not become permanent fixtures in the landscape of government intrusions into daily life. There is historical precedent for life-saving programs such as these, and their intrusions on digital liberties, to outlive their urgency.

Thus, any data collection and digital monitoring of potential carriers of COVID-19 should take into consideration and commit to these principles:

The article concludes:

EFF has long advocated against digital surveillance by government and corporations of our movements, health, and personal relationships, and against big data systems that can turn our lives into open books. Such data processing often invades our privacy, deters our free speech and association, and disparately burdens racial minorities. Some use of big data may now be warranted as public health officials work to contain COVID-19. But it must be medically necessary, as determined by public health experts; any new processing of personal data must be proportionate to the actual need; people must not be scrutinized because of their nationality or other demographic factors; and any new government powers must expire when the disease is contained.

The same procedures being used to track and slow spread of this disease could be used for less noble purposes. You can read the full article here: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/protecting-civil-liberties-during-public-health-crisis.