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IPFS News Link • Surveillance

Facial Recognition Apps for Home Quarantine a 'Privacy Disaster': Report

•, By Daniel Y. Teng

Currently, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria are trialling such apps, which use geolocation and facial recognition technology to help monitor compliance with COVID-19 quarantine measures. For example, over 97,000 residents have already used Western Australia's home quarantine app, the G2G pass.

The report called on state governments to "regain the public's trust" after police (in Queensland and Western Australia) were caught accessing data collected in COVID-19 contact tracing apps to assist in investigations.

"It is important to learn the lessons of recent history and not allow moments of global crisis, like the pandemic, to reshape the way surveillance technology is used," Peter Lewis, director of the Centre for Responsible Technology, said in a press release on Oct. 11.

"Twenty years ago, the world responded to 9/11 and the threat of terror by forcing technology companies to access the search history of their users, something that had never been contemplated before.

"Once this increased degree of surveillance was normalised, it was adopted by corporations like Google and Facebook to track users and to target ads, and by governments around the world to control their citizens.

"While it is important to get quarantine models right, the idea that facial recognition technology should be the primary monitoring tool for home quarantine should be treated with real scepticism," he said.

Lewis called on governments to recognise the deficiencies in facial recognition technology and the risks it posed to privacy rights.

The report stated that the increasing use of surveillance technology globally to monitor compliance was a "troubling trend" and warned of the "normalisation of surveillance culture."