People want privacy and protection from contact tracing, Italy shows
Turns out people want privacy, not surveillance, as the nations adopting private by design Apple/Google COVID-19 contact tracing technology are seeing more rapid adoption of their solutions, while those who don’t either aren’t seeing anything like the same take up, or (more likely) haven’t yet succeeded in building any effective system.
People are dying.
Smart versus cynical
We know most people have become increasingly anxious about privacy, manipulation and surveillance in the connected age.
We also recognize that everyone is incredibly anxious at the threat of COVID-19 – and while we’re being told things are safer, we know that’s likely to be untrue.
That’s why it’s so unfortunate that many administrations are attempting to introduce some form of surveillance culture via the back door, using the contact tracing apps they so desperately want to convince us all to use to grab information they don’t have much need to take – public protection should come first in this pandemic.
With this in mind it’s heartening that Italy’s decision to use the Apple/Google contact tracing tech seems to be drawing dividends.
Rapidly reaching 25% adoption
Available in a limited area at this time, Italy’s Immuni app has been downloaded by over 25% of those given access to the solution – 2.2 million people are now using the app.
This is important, as unless everyone who can use these solutions will make use of these solutions, then the solutions become far less effective.
“Immuni is a valuable tool in the fight against this horrendous epidemic, and every single user increases its overall effectiveness,” Italy’s government explains. “It is strongly recommended to install the app, use it correctly, and encourage friends and loved ones to do likewise. However, nobody is compelled to use it. It is entirely the individual’s choice.”
There are other nations adopting the Apple/Google app:
- Singapore and Australia are considering it.
Unfortunately, the U.S., France and UK don’t seem to be following suit, which is tragic when you consider the sheer number of people dying in those nations.
The challenge is that without effective contact tracing it’s incredibly hard to stem the spread of the highly infectious disease.
At the same time, consumer behaviour shows we now value both privacy and health protection – it’s pointless to pretend otherwise. Lives depend on getting this right: would my own father have passed away from this new plague if contact tracing had been in place and care homes effectively protected?
I’ll never know.
But I’d prefer other people didn’t go through it.