Governments use surveillance to fight COVID-19

Several governments across the world have resorted to various surveillance technologies to monitor the COVID-19 patients in their countries.

Israel’s Hamagen App

Israel has launched the Hamagen app and it has been downloaded by about 1.5 million Israelis in a week. The Hamagen app (from Hebrew word meaning ‘the shield’) was developed using open source tools to enable voluntary coronavirus monitoring. It allows the users to decide whether to report their exposure or not. The Shin Bet internal security agency will be monitoring the patients via the app.

Singapore’s TraceTogether App

The Singapore government launched a ‘community driven contact tracing app’ called TraceTogether. It works by exchange of Bluetooth signal between phones to detect other users of the app who are in proximity. These contacts are recorded and locally stored in the phone. During the contact tracing process, the patient can consent to give this data from the app to the government. This enables the government in addressing the issue of patients not remembering all their contacts.

Hong Kong’s Wristbands

The Hong Kong Government made use of electric wristbands coupled with a smartphone app to enforce self-quarantining among arriving passengers. The technology would give the coordinates to the officials and is to ensure that the quarantined people stay indoors.

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