Despite uncertain benefits, surveillance spreads across the world


At least 27 countries are using data from cellphone companies to track the movements of their citizens, and at least 30 have developed smartphone apps for the public to download. Fewer objections have been raised in countries with greater levels of success in containing the virus. However, although Turkey has one of the worst outbreaks there has been little pushback against the surveillance even though the government is forcibly tracking people over 65, who are not allowed to leave their homes and even those who worry about surveillance download the government app and enter the information it requests. It remains unclear whether these programmes yield useful information about infection chains, and although fear of the virus is leading people in South Korea, Singapore, and many other countries to comply with government requirements, technical failure could cost the governments the trust they need to ensure compliance.


Writer: Kareem Fahim, Min Joo Kim, and Steve Hendrix
Publication: Washington Post