Picture (c) Olivier Douliery, AFP
The app, designed ostensibly to notify smartphone users if they came into close contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus, could be available within a few weeks, but privacy campaigners warn that the app, which will give the government and its agencies, including the police who have shown their willingness to abuse their new powers, the ability to record and store the complete movements of individuals and details of those with whom they were in contact.
If the plan goes through unchallenged, and Boris Jognson’s recent conversion to the kind of authoritarian approach wannabe Galactic Emperor Bill Gates has lobbied for suggests it will, the public will be “coerced” into sharing personal data about their movements, personal liberty activists fear.
This blog has warned from the outset that the whole COVID – 19 coronavirus scare was being used by globalists to effect a huge power grab and the abolition of the rights and liberties we in the democratic nations have come to take for granted.
Johnson’s spokesman added that the priority while waiting for the app to be ready is ensuring continued social distancing in order to fullfil the “five tests” to be met before lockdown measures can be eased. Those tests include falling deaths and falling infection rates. This is ridiculous and confirms our suspicions as empirical evidence shows distancing does not work and lockdown, apart from trashing the economy, has failed to curtail the spread of the disease. Nations like Sweden and South Korea which avoided a lockdown, arguing rationally that the economic damage would cause more deaths in the long term than the virus is ever likely to, have experienced no higher infection rate or deathg rate than normal.
Today’s statement from Downing Street follows a heated exchange in the House of Commons on Tuesday 28 April over proposed legislation setting out the legal basis for processing personal data by the app. Shadow deputy leader of the House, Afzal Khan, said that while the app has an “important role to play,” legislation should ensure that it stores data in a decentralized manner. This is nonsense as data stored in a decentralised way, i.e. a distributed database, can still be pulled together almost instantly on entry of certain keywords.
Responding to Khan, Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC said the app will be “voluntary participation only” and there will be “no private identifiable information on it.” Furthermore, the whole process will be “data protection compliant and there will be an ethical advisory board monitoring it,” he said.
If you believe that look out of the window quickly, you might see several pigs flying over your home.
Internet law professor Lilian Edwards took a more cautionary line, telling MPs, that there was a “precedent of other pandemics leading to a mass land grab in extensive state surveillance.” She is probably referring to the pandemics of damp squibs over the past three decades, including SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and Ebola. The first four of those were so ludicrously hyped they caused the World Health Organisation to change the edfinition of ‘pandemic’ from hundreds of millions of people all around the world will be infected and millions will die, to ‘a few people here and there will feel a bit poorly.‘ Ebola was different, it killed thousands in west Africa in 2014 / 15 but despite a massive campaign to spread fear and panic in the rest of the world the diseasedid not significantly break out of Africa.
Historically, virus epidemics to tend to burn out after a few months. Why this is so has never been understood.
COVID – 19 has turned into a real pandemic, but there are several aspects of how it is thought to have originated, the way it predominantly attacks the old and those with underlying health problems and the fact that all the world’s leading economies were in deficit because of rising welfare bills, that have led conspiracy theorists to speculate that the timing is suspiciously convenient. And the authoritarian measures adopted by governments, vesting far more powers in the state, tend to fuel those suspicions.
Several EU countries have been developing contact-tracing apps in parallel with the UK, a statement from the EU Commission in Brussels earlier this month stated that it wanted EU members to take a “common approach” to the use of digital technologies and data.
The ‘common approach’ recommendation from Brussels has triggered a debate that is still raging in Europe over whether to use centralized or decentralized solutions for the apps. While a decentralized approach would see data stored on the user’s own phone, a centralized infrastructure would see data sent to a central database run by public authorities, which civil liberties groups say risks evolving into state surveillance.
The German government plans to adopt a decentralized approach it was announced last week. This is a U-turn on the previous plan which involved full support of the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (Pepp-PT) protocol developed by European Union agencies. Berlin will now support decentralized solutions proposed by Apple and Google instead, which leaves the gathered data on devices controlled by US tech corporations. This approach presents even greater problems for personal liberty activists as on user privacy and data protection the track record of both these predatory corporations is on a par with that of a fox in a chicken coop.
Meanwhile the UK leans toward a centralized model and it’s been reported that experts from GCHQs National Cyber Security Centre, an agency which has been spying on us through our web use, emails, molbile phone calls and texts for over two decades, are advising on the project. So the unalienable human right to privacy is right out the window then.
In France the government of beleagured president Emmanuel Macron has also been pushing a centralized app solution, prompting hundreds of the country’s computer security experts to sign an open letter asking the government to reconsider due to concerns around privacy and individual freedoms.
Johnson’s spokesman said the government would set out more details regarding the British app as soon as it could. Our advice, Just Say No, Do you really need an app that allows a government no sane person would trust, to track their every movement and who they came into contact with.
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Things have gone so far beyond what can be considered a rational response to an outbreak of a highly contagious but for most people relatively minor illness that I am starting to believe even the conspiracy theories I know I made up myself. Along with my fellow Boggart Bloggers I predicted weeks ago the current outbreak of the so – called coronavirus would see a massive hyping of the threat level leading up to an assault on our freedoms. And that is exactly what we have seen happening over the past week.
The scientist whose mathematical models of how the coronavirus would spread in the UK and the wildly exaggerated estimates of how many deaths might result from the epidemic reportedly led to the decision to implement a countrywide lockdown and trash the economy has been criticized in the past for flawed research.