Privacy is dead, so I might as well download the COVID-Safe app

We already live in a surveillance state, so we might as well download the COVIDSafe app

Coronavirus
Picture: Kenji Sato

Picture: Kenji Sato

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OPINION: Did you download the COVIDSafe app?

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She's the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, she's the last thing I see when I go to bed at night, and over the years she's always been there at my side.

My mobile phone has been a looming presence in my life for the past decade, and like a paranoid girlfriend she's been tracking my every movement via satellite without my knowledge.

Privacy is already long dead and buried, which is why I thought I may as well download the COVIDSafe app for the sake of flattening the curve.

Some say the app will turn Australia into an Orwellian surveillance state, but I've got some bad news for those people: we already live in an Orwellian surveillance state.

If you own a phone, use a credit card, or browse the internet then you already fall squarely under the gaze of the all-seeing algorithm.

Just to rub it in, Google started sending me these unsolicited timelapses of my movements, showing me every location I'd visited down to the exact address and the exact minute.

It painted a depressing picture of me shuttling back and forth between home and work, with only the occasional giddy expedition to pick up groceries to break up the monotony.

And unless you live under a rock and communicate exclusively through carrier pigeons, then you too are being watched by Big Brother.

Every time you browse the internet you leave behind a trail of tracking cookies that are snapped up by a hungry pack of algorithms that learn more about you with each byte.

They track your every step, your every click, your every purchasing decision; your mobile phone knows you more intimately than any lover ever could.

If you are on Facebook you are donating your data to Mark Zuckerberg, and if you use TikTok you are placing your trust in the hands of the Chinese government.

If you download the COVIDSafe app you are signing up to the Amazon database, but if you've ever used Netflix or taken an airplane or opened a bank account in Australia then chances are you're already on there.

If you're worried about your privacy, then I'm afraid that ship sailed long ago and has taken your data with it; we already live in Orwell's 1984, complete with all the garbled "txtspk" and all the surveillance it entails.

This is the reality we live in, but instead of selling your data to a bunch of powerful but socially-inept tech nerds, you could be using your data to do some good in the world.

When you download COVIDSafe you are helping to slow the spread of coronavirus, and the sooner we get a handle on this pandemic the sooner life can go back to normal.

  • Kenji Sato is a reporter for The Daily Advertiser.

The story Privacy is dead, so I might as well download the COVID-Safe app first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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