Vaccine or not, the United States either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness. That’s the word from U.S. think tanks.
The American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, and Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics propose a Phase One comprised of a national lockdown, including social distancing all too flatten the curve, as well as testing capacity.
After 45 days in the CAP and Harvard proposals, Phase Two softens social distancing requirements, while implementing mass surveillance. Nearly all Americans will download an app to their phone to geotrack each and every movement. If you came into contact with someone who gets Covid-19, you would be alerted to quarantine. You would be required to scan QR codes, while boarding mass transit or entering high-risk public areas.
In Taiwan, GPS tracking is used to enforce quarantine. The same will be done here, according to the think tanks.
Polling shows that 70 percent of Republicans, and 46 percent of Democrats, strongly oppose using cellphone data to enforce quarantine orders.
As CAP reads:
The entity that hosts the data must be a trusted, nonprofit organization—not private technology companies or the federal government. The app could be developed for a purely public health nonprofit entity such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)—an organization that represents state health officials—which would host the data. Congress or foundations could provide funding to develop and operate the technology. States licensing the app could provide ongoing operational funding to ASTHO, provided states receive federal funding for this purpose.
• Additional protections must include the following:
• The amount of data needed and shared must be minimized
• This system must be transparent
• Data must be collected, secured, and stored within the United States
• Data must be automatically deleted after every 45 days
• The sharing of data with the federal government, except for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), must be prohibited
• The sharing of data with state and local government agencies that are not public health agencies must be prohibited
• The sharing of data with third parties and the sale of data must be prohibited
• Any data shared publicly must be anonymized
As a condition of receiving a COVID-19 test in the future, individuals may be required to download the app, which would include their test result. For others, the app would be voluntary, although the vast majority of people could be expected to download it to see if there are cases in their neighborhood or near their workplace.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer foresees mass testing––22 million per day––so that each individual is tested every 14 days. If you test positive, you’re quickly quarantined.
AEI proposal does not see a V-shaped economic recovery. The think tanks see a need for a surveillance dystopia.
Meanwhile, Apple and Google will embed voluntary contact tracing interoperable functionality in their phones, making the data interoperable across iOS and Android.