Not content to merely harvest your private information, your driving whereabouts, music listening tastes and spending habits, as well as recognizing your face, conducting psychological experiments without your knowledge as well as listening in on your private conversations, now Big Data wants to track your every move, for the good of your health.
Bill Gates, who is pushing for a new vaccine, is also wishing we all had a national tracking system. Since the first large outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States was right under his nose, it makes sense.
Still, one wonders how likely Gates would want to be part of this tracking system, considering he the former Microsoft chairman denied the fact he met with Jeffrey Epstein many times, despite knowing his past sexual offences including jail time spent soliciting an underaged prostitute.
As if this weren't enough, tech overlords Google and Apple have announced they will work together to...track you via your smartphone. According to NBC:
The two companies, usually fierce rivals, said they would work together in the coming weeks to build new tools that would enable people and health authorities to track the virus using Bluetooth proximity data from their smartphones.
“We hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life,” the two companies said in a rare joint statement.
Outside experts had been pleading with the two companies to join forces in just such an effort because of their unique position controlling the operating systems for the vast majority of the phones in the U.S. and Europe.
While "experts," are pleading for this, many other experts are pointing out this is only a half-step removed from China's social credit system. For those who don't know, this system "rewards" you for thinking "correctly," and punishes you for not. Such punishments include blocking people from buying tickets for domestic flights, purchasing business-class train tickets, throttling your internet speeds, banning you or your kids from the best schools, removing your pet dog and more.
And those are just the punishments the west knows of.
In light of this news, I have questions.
1. Who are Google and Apple to enact such measures when they aren't our governing body? And why should we let them even if it's for the so-called good? Everything they proclaim to do is for the so-called good Remember Google's motto used to be Don't Be Evil. Until they changed it.
2. Why should be believe anything these tech companies say when time and time again we've caught them overstepping their boundaries and lying to us?
3. Both Google and Apple have financial interests in expanding its business in China.
In Google's case, it's keeping on China's good side, to ensconce themselves within the search network, something they publicly admitted with project Dragonfly. There are also rumours (according to Peter Thiel) that Google is also working with the country's military, with its AI business. In addition, Google is quite happy with apps in the Google Play store as well as its biggest cash cow, advertising.
In Apple's case, it's hardware. Virtually all of its products are made in China. Apple's Foxconn factory was a perfect example of the brutality of working to churn out iPhones at such a pace and under such conditions that drove many employees to suicide. While the brand is working to become a leading stalwart in its environmental practices, it's hard to reconcile this practice when their factories are in a country whose rapidly unchecked industrialization is a leading cause of mass pollution in the world today.
And while Apple will take a hard stance on privacy in the states such as initially refusing to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of a mass shooter, they had no qualms about removing the New York Times app, Skype, more than 400 VPN apps, the Quartz news app and most recently, in the months before the pandemic, a Hong Kong protest app. All at the request of the Chinese government.
There are plenty of other examples that should make one pause that any effort of "disruption," from a tech company might not have the best interests at heart, regardless of the press release. Forgive my cynicism in thinking that tech companies and billionaire Silicon Valley CEO's just want more data than they already have, and that they will have no qualms about sharing such private information if it means increasing profit in emerging markets. But if you think Apple and Google will totally be transparent and maintain your privacy or that this will be a strictly voluntary system that is easy to opt-out of, there's a large golden bridge in San Francisco I'd like to sell you.