The outbreak of deadly coronavirus has severely impacted many countries across the globe. The virus is spreading rapidly, with an increase in the number of infected people and the death toll. And to curb the spread of the virus, governments of all countries are taking several measures.
One such measure has been recently taken by the Chinese government, in the form of a fresh data collection campaign. The campaign has been initiated to better trace the residents’ moves in public areas.
The campaign is an addition to a host of other monitoring tools already in place such as facial recognition and phone data tracking.
According to residents and local media reports, the data for the campaign will be collected by asking visitors to office buildings, residential compounds, and metro systems to scan QR codes using their mobile phones and to fill in forms asking for information such as their travel history and body temperature.
These measures have provoked debate over privacy and the uses of the data repository that China is building on its citizens.
About the campaign’s privacy aspect, China senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, Maya Wang said: “Of course governments have the responsibility to protect public health and safety but these measures have to balance other rights as well, including privacy rights. No one will be able to see any data without the permission of the epidemic prevention and control headquarters.”
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