Reply to post: Re: Which is more important, Privacy or Death?

Taiwan collars coronavirus quarantine scofflaws with smartphone geo-fences. So, which nation will be next?

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Which is more important, Privacy or Death?

No, the argument is that nothing is important as long as we do something that might help against the virus. Some of these drastic measures will produce a great deal of benefit and we should get them started as soon as possible. Some will be a little effective and we should probably do them. Some will be pointless and if we spend effort on them, we'll be wasting time and resources we could be using on something useful. Some will cause more harm than good, and it might not only be directly virus-related. So far, there has been relatively little attention paid to this--as long as the experts in epidemiology suggested one thing such as social distancing requirements, the governments will agree to any policy that seems at least somewhat supportive of that thing. They do this without consideration of public health, public confidence, feasibility, privacy, or anything else. The only two questions they seem to ask are "Does this seem like it obviously won't work" and "Can I make this sound good when I get interviewed". As long as the answers are no and yes respectively, they'll go ahead.

This is an emergency situation with a severity that's not well established yet. In such situations, there are two things that are very effective. The first is prior planning, and for that it's too late--we have all we're going to get. The second thing, and what we're relying upon, is an attitude (at all levels, but most importantly on the levels of those making policy decisions) of calmness, consideration, and willingness to make sacrifices. We must not let that attitude succumb to quick and dirty attempts at patching without consideration. This means we'll have to resign ourselves to doing uncomfortable things. It will also mean that we have to consider the long-term, and that means we have to consider things like our future privacy rights. It will afford us nothing if we survive this and die in a crisis of our own making later on.

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