PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus

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UPDATED (5-12-20)

As government agencies prepare to "re-open" society, serious concerns have been raised about federal and state plans to track people - using smartphones and other technologies - who have been infected with the coronavirus.

In an almost unbelieveable move, Democrats in the House of Representatives have filed a bill called 'H.R. 6666 - COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone,' or the TRACE Act.

If passed, the measure would give the federal government $100 BILLION for "diagnostic testing for COVID–19, to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts..."

And, most chillingly, the bill would also provide for "services" related to the "quarantine [of people] at their residences." 

What does that mean? Would government agents be charged with keeping citizens under "house arrest?"

This is outrageous, and it's happening right now. If Congress passes a federal law mandating contact tracing, the possibility for abuse - at federal, state, and local levels - boggles the mind.

Please sign this urgent petition which urges Congress and state governors to reject mandatory government contact tracing and surveillance, especially using smartphone technology.

In related news, regulations issued in Kansas City only two weeks ago would have required that businesses ask all customers, who visited their premises for more than 10 minutes, to provide their names and contact details.

Otherwise, the businesses were required (by the city) to refuse service.

Fortunately, that invasion of privacy in Kansas City has now been quietly changed from a mandate to a recommendation.

But, if we do not continue to react, this could be a sign of things to come in other parts of the country.

We simply must resist imposing Big Brother on ourselves for "safety's sake."

The basic idea of using new technologies for contact tracing and surveillance is that a smartphone app will record each instance when an infected person comes into contact with an uninfected person, and, theoretically, notify the uninfected person of possible exposure to COVID-19.

Essentially, your phone could be equipped to spy on you for the government.

And, with government overreach like what we saw in Kansas City, and, potentially in the US Congress, that's exactly what we're facing if we don't demand that the federal and state governments prohibit mandatory contact tracing.

There are massive concerns with privacy, security and efficacy.

Here is a list of the biggest threats to freedom:

  • Government Surveillance and Privacy - Such apps might not only allow the government to trace your movements (which it can already do), but know who your associates are. Is it really the government's business who you associate with?
  • Security - These apps are ripe for attacks by hackers. Do you really want some unknown people, company or govenment to know who your friends and family are?
  • The Data - Who will really have access to this data and how long will it be stored? Do you trust 'Big Tech' and the state to do "the right thing" with your data?
  • State vs Fed - Any kind of investigative and quarantine powers should remain with state and local authorities, only. Involvement by the federal government is something to be avoided. 

Please sign this petition which calls on the U.S. Congress and every state governor to reject mandatory contact tracing and surveillance, especially using smartphone technology.

The threat to personal freedom and to privacy is not to be minimized. It is already happening in other countries.

In South Korea, for example, where contact tracing is mandatory, people's private details, like credit card information, GPS location data, CCTV footage, travel documents, and medical records, have been used by the government to discourage free movement.

Using targeted cell phone texts, they have gone so far as to blast out particular personal information about individuals who have tested positive for a contagious disease.

Anyone can see that such a system could be open to abuse...

Today, government authorities focus on health concerns, but who says that they won't focus on political considerations in the future?

And, there are other serious concerns about contact tracing with smartphone surveillance, chief among them being: will this technology work at all?

Experts, like Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the former national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, who was interviewed by The Verge, suggest that false positives will be a major problem.

So, for all of these reasons, we encourage you to sign and share this urgent and important petition, today.

It will be sent to U.S. Congressional Leaders and to all 50 governors, and urge them to soundly reject mandatory contact tracing and surveillance, especially using smartphone technology.

Thank you!


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'Chinese govt uses smartphones to track citizens, deny service to those deemed threat to society' -

'Contact tracing has a UX problem' -

'Why Bluetooth apps are bad at discovering new cases of COVID-19' -

**Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter