As the number of coronavirus cases around the world continues to rise exponentially, government authorities have heightened the surveillance mechanism to keep a track of the outbreak. Digital surveillance in the wake of coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns over privacy and rights activists believe that it could be the next victim of coronavirus.
“Governments around the world are demanding extraordinary new surveillance powers intended to contain the virus’ spread,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation in a blog post.
The San Franciso-based non-profit digital rights group said that such extraordinary powers would invade privacy and deter free speech. It demanded the governments show that the use of such powers would be proportionate and based on science to combat the ongoing crisis. It opposed the use of some of the technologies for surveillance calling it extremely invasive and dangerous.
“If the public grants such powers to the government, these powers must expire when the crisis ends, contain strict anti-bias rules, and be subject to strict safeguards and audits,” the group said.
The rights group has also demanded greater transparency in the functioning and decision-making process of the government. It said that the governments must broadcast the proceedings if they have closed the physical spaces as a part of social distancing measures during the coronavirus outbreak.
“While governmental responses to public records requests may be slowed down during this public health crisis, the outbreak is no excuse to shut them down altogether,” said EEF.
Over 7.8 lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported till date and nearly 38,000 deaths worldwide have forced government around the world to take stringent action in order to contain the spread of the virus. While the United States has reported the most number of cases, Italy is the worst-hit in terms of death toll with around 11,591 deaths reported so far.
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