The Global Trace-and-Track Regime
The Biden administration’s vaccine passport scheme is just the teeny-tiny tip of a massive privacy invasion iceberg. A year ago this week, I began chronicling the worldwide weaponization of COVID-19 by big government and big business to trace and track the health data of untold hundreds of millions of human beings. Let’s review.
In March 2020, Singapore unleashed a Bluetooth app called “TraceTogether” on Google Play and the Apple Store to track people who tested positive for coronavirus and notify others through their cellphones. For those who argue that participation is completely “voluntary,” bear in mind that Singapore functions as a high-tech dictatorship where refusal to comply with stay-at-home orders and refusal to share GPS location data with health bureaucrats are criminal offenses subject to six months’ imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.
The Singapore system was quickly expanded to require users to submit their national ID numbers and passport numbers; a few months later, the government issued wearable tracing “tokens” with QR codes to all 5.7 million residents in Singapore. Plans are in the works to formally mandate TraceTogether enrollment for anyone in cinemas, restaurants, workplaces, schools and shopping malls.
Dozens of states, plus countries including Germany, the U.K., and a large swath of Canada, now use COVID-19 exposure notification apps akin to Singapore’s that are built on Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification application programming interface.
On March 9, 2020, the Trump administration’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled new data rules requiring doctors and hospitals to “send a core set of medical data directly to third-party apps after a patient has authorized the information exchange.” Google, Apple and Microsoft—all at the forefront of health data mining—sat in on the rule-making process meetings.
The tech oligarchs are in the driver’s seat, not the back of the bus.
As I’ve reported in investigative documentaries and this column for years, Google/YouTube is already knee-deep in mental-health data mining of adults and children despite repeated privacy violations. They’ve mined students’ emails in violation of the federal Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act. They’ve violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Google secretly harvested tens of millions of medical records with identifying names, lab results, diagnoses, immunization records and prescriptions from thousands of hospitals across 21 states through “Project Nightingale”—a partnership with Ascension health system to build a search tool and data analytics using machine-learning algorithms.
A year ago this month, Google launched “Verily,” a COVID-19 screening and testing website. California Gov. Gavin Newsom forked over $55 million to subsidize Verily contracts with 28 counties. The contracts allow Google/Verily to mine and share home addresses and medical information with “unnamed contractors and state and federal health authorities,” according to Kaiser Health News.
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