US government could work with tech firms to track the coronavirus using phone location...

midian182

Posts: 6,164   +51
Staff member

According to a Washington Post report, Facebook, Google, and other companies took part in discussions with health experts on how phone location data could be used to track the pandemic in the US. Last week, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter met with U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios for talks on how the tech industry can help in the battle against COVID-19. It’s likely that the meeting led to plans for location data tracking.

“It’s also an approach that could leave some Americans uncomfortable, depending on how it’s implemented, given the sensitivity when it comes to details of their daily whereabouts,” writes the Post.

The data could also be used to discover if people are adhering to preventative measures such as social distancing and avoiding gathering in groups of ten or more, and how much these practices are slowing down the virus’ spread.

Many tech firms are lending a hand in the fight against the coronavirus. Facebook is investing $100 million to help small businesses affected by the outbreak and is giving employees $1,000 bonuses to deal with the fallout. Alphabet subsidiary Verily, meanwhile, is in the early stages of developing a website focused on COVID-19.

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SirDigby

Posts: 656   +294
TechSpot Elite
I don't understand how they'd distinct between those who are WFH, those who are properly self isolating, those with it and anyone who doesn't go out much anyway?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,715   +3,609
The answer is NO.

I will not buy anything, download anything or carry anything that gives the government any dominion over me whatsoever.

If only more people could understand what Orwell was trying to warn us about.

Hideo Kojima and George Carlin knew.
 
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BadThad

Posts: 314   +241
NO! We don't want the government digging into our privacy any more than they do already! Less government = more FREEDOM! Reduce government and the people prosper!
 
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koblongata

Posts: 335   +141
We have been doing something like this in Taiwan since the beginning, the gov would track and issue a phone to each of those who had close contact with a confirmed case, gov then will make sure you stay at home (meal will be delivered) by checking on your GPS location and calling you at times, if you failed to respond (deliberately turned off the phone, or simply no answer) police will start looking for you, if you ran out and go places you can be fined for up to USD$33,333, and could face charges too.

And you will be in the news flash (no photo though, too bad), and people will know your name.
 
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treetops

Posts: 3,065   +784
The answer is NO.

I will not buy anything, download anything or carry anything that gives the government any dominion over me whatsoever.

If only more people could understand what Orwell was trying to warn us about.

Hideo Kojima and George Carlin knew.
I don't think you really have a choice. The NSA already has a data base of everything you have ever done on the web. If don't you think the location\microphone data on your smart phone is not being neatly catalogued, you're crazy.

I can't even get YT to stop suggesting videos about IRL conversations I have with my girlfriend. My god, I dreamt about a bee looking insect digging a hole the other day, told my gf about it when I woke up. Looked on YT an hour later and got a video suggestion about Digger Wasps....

I've followed every phone setting advised on the web to turn off my microphone. And yet... YT persists on listening to my IRL conversations.

If you own a smart phone, you're screwed. This is life now. ^^
 

Yynxs

Posts: 544   +184
TechSpot Elite
I don't think you really have a choice. The NSA already has a data base of everything you have ever done on the web. If don't you think the location\microphone data on your smart phone is not being neatly catalogued, you're crazy.

I can't even get YT to stop suggesting videos about IRL conversations I have with my girlfriend. My god, I dreamt about a bee looking insect digging a hole the other day, told my gf about it when I woke up. Looked on YT an hour later and got a video suggestion about Digger Wasps....

I've followed every phone setting advised on the web to turn off my microphone. And yet... YT persists on listening to my IRL conversations.

If you own a smart phone, you're screwed. This is life now. ^^
You can buy metal boxes about phone size in most flea markets. Personally, I'm using a silver plated one originally designed to hold men's cufflinks. If you want to go to the trouble of drilling a hole in one end, you can install the charging cable so it looks 'more professional' on the night stand.

There is no tracking the phone if it's in there. You can stand it on the wifi router and there's no signal. A side benefit, if you're particularly paranoid, is the little box travels well. You can't be tracked until you take it out of the box for the short time it takes to make calls or locate your pizza house using the map (no one would enter the pizza house address of course, that would be stupid).

Sound deadening foam is available on the net but it's overpriced. Personally, I use an old rollup camping mattress from a 2nd hand store clipped down to the size I need.

Of course, you don't get to be contactable at any hour of the day or night by the significant other or family on that phone but you can buy magic jack for about 60 bucks a year in the US. You can plug any antique wired phone into those. I use a 30+ year old wireless handheld with two (count 'em, two) phones, one for the bedside, so I can go "wireless" from the router. Yes, it can be tapped if you park a van near by, but if you're that interesting to the government and google, nothing outside of one time burners is going to help.

In short, there are workarounds from google and government spying, but it's not for the 'always on' types.
 

treetops

Posts: 3,065   +784
You can buy metal boxes about phone size in most flea markets. Personally, I'm using a silver plated one originally designed to hold men's cufflinks. If you want to go to the trouble of drilling a hole in one end, you can install the charging cable so it looks 'more professional' on the night stand.

There is no tracking the phone if it's in there. You can stand it on the wifi router and there's no signal. A side benefit, if you're particularly paranoid, is the little box travels well. You can't be tracked until you take it out of the box for the short time it takes to make calls or locate your pizza house using the map (no one would enter the pizza house address of course, that would be stupid).

Sound deadening foam is available on the net but it's overpriced. Personally, I use an old rollup camping mattress from a 2nd hand store clipped down to the size I need.

Of course, you don't get to be contactable at any hour of the day or night by the significant other or family on that phone but you can buy magic jack for about 60 bucks a year in the US. You can plug any antique wired phone into those. I use a 30+ year old wireless handheld with two (count 'em, two) phones, one for the bedside, so I can go "wireless" from the router. Yes, it can be tapped if you park a van near by, but if you're that interesting to the government and google, nothing outside of one time burners is going to help.

In short, there are workarounds from google and government spying, but it's not for the 'always on' types.
It's creepy, I want to say idc about the government, but google trying so hard just to suggest YT videos. idk how we got to this point so fast
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,209   +4,970
You can buy metal boxes about phone size in most flea markets. Personally, I'm using a silver plated one originally designed to hold men's cufflinks. If you want to go to the trouble of drilling a hole in one end, you can install the charging cable so it looks 'more professional' on the night stand.

There is no tracking the phone if it's in there. You can stand it on the wifi router and there's no signal. A side benefit, if you're particularly paranoid, is the little box travels well. You can't be tracked until you take it out of the box for the short time it takes to make calls or locate your pizza house using the map (no one would enter the pizza house address of course, that would be stupid). ...[ ]...
I like it! After all, if you need a tinfoil hat, your cell phone should have one as well.. (y) (Y)
 
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treetops

Posts: 3,065   +784
"Hey baby, I had a odd dream last night. I dreamt of a queen ant flying around trying to find a spot to dig into the ground and make a colony. Only it was yellow like a bee or a wasp. I had to keep our dog away from it while it dug."

An hour later I check my YT, suggested video below. Paranoid is paranoid... but I am going to go with naive on your part. If you haven't noticed anything like this you failed part of a new real world IQ test.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
My answer is no. However, this wouldn't work anyway. People would just leave their phones at home.
 

red1776

Posts: 5,124   +193
The paranoise here is blinding.
well good, I just ate my cat...so he won't be revealing any secrets anytime soon!
...I'ts a known scientific fact that it takes at least 3 months for them to access lives 6-9.
so...word to the wise.
BTW, a sweet barbeque sauce is the way to go!

...and if my kids ask "where is key"...you don't know nuthin!
 
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CharmsD

Posts: 411   +255
well good, I just ate my cat...so he won't be revealing any secrets anytime soon!
...I'ts a known scientific fact that it takes at least 3 months for them to access lives 6-9.
so...word to the wise.
BTW, a sweet barbeque sauce is the way to go!

...and if my kids ask "where is key"...you don't know nuthin!
I could do so much with that ...at another time in a different place. Lol, mailpup on guard! :)

Y'all watch this! Everyone needs to exercise their smarts....in this time of covid and mass quiet.

 

Yynxs

Posts: 544   +184
TechSpot Elite
well good, I just ate my cat...so he won't be revealing any secrets anytime soon!
so...word to the wise.
BTW, a sweet barbeque sauce is the way to go!
The Japanese, when I used to be stationed there, used to serve Yakineko (yaki=fried, neko=cat) in select establishments (read 'dives'). That's thin filleted cat meat with pounded sesame seeds in it and lightly braised with a sweetened soy sauce.

Drudge has a lin k reporting on not abandoning your dog Pets.

I don't think anyone really pays attention to outside cats, but that would be a significant vector if it was an inside/outside cat in an infected household. I wonder how long Wuhan virus would last on the fur picking up mucus droplets from your pant legs or just the air after sneezing or coughing? Since cats rub their faces and torso to mark people, a neighborhood known friendly cat could leverage infection rates quite well.

Edited for spelling
 
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red1776

Posts: 5,124   +193
The Japanese, when I used to be stationed there, used to serve Yakineko (yaki=fried, neko=cat) in select establishments (read 'dives'). That's thin filleted cat meat with pounded sesame seeds in it and lightly braised with a sweetened soy sauce.

Drudge has a ling reporting on not abandoing your dog Pets.

I don't think anyone really pays attention to outside cats, but that would be a significant vector if it was an inside/outside cat in an infected household. I wonder how long Wuhan virus would last on the fur picking up mucus droplets from your pant legs or just the air after sneezing or coughing? Since cats rub their faces and torso to mark people, a neighborhood known friendly cat could leverage infection rates quite well.
I already said...sweet BBQ sauce was the way to go.