FEDS Use Contact Tracing To Track Protesters

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Countless warnings about how #lawenforcement could use #contacttracing apps to monitor people have gone unheeded.

As BGR.com revealed, police are using contact tracing to identify protesters’ affiliations.

According to #Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harringon, officials there have been using what they describe, without going into much detail, as contact-tracing in order to build out a picture of protestor affiliations — a process that officials in the state say has led them to conclude that much of the protest activity there is being fueled by people from outside coming in.

A Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing” revealed how police are using contact tracing to identify and arrest protesters. “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they’ve begun contact tracing arrestees.” Recently, 100 human rights groups warned that an Apple/Google contact tracing app could be used as a cover to identify activists and minorities.

An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities—undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.

So despite all assurances to the contrary, it appears that 100 human rights groups were right; law enforcement can and will use contact tracing to identify protesters.

As NBC News noted, contact tracers also use geofencing to help identify protesters. “Geofencing” captures the social media posts of people entering a specific area. The technology locates any cellphones that cross into the area by locking onto their geolocation systems, and then records social media posts and sometimes other data from the phones.

Time exposed how the military (#NationalGuard) uses a classified system called “Secret Internet Protocol Router” or SIPR to monitor protesters.

Big Tech’s hands are dirty with federal money paying for new ways to monitor Americans.

A recent Business Insider article describes how police use Big Tech to monitor activists and protesters the moment they walk out their door.

Law enforcement agencies have made full use of high-tech surveillance tools as protests sweep the country following the death of George Floyd. A predator drone operated by Customs and Border Patrol circled above protesters in Minneapolis.

Buzzfeed News warns,

law enforcement has a wide breadth of surveillance technologies that could be used to monitor and target protesters — including controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI, license plate readers, body cameras, and video analysis tools.

Both of these articles reveal a frightening array of Big Tech surveillance devices being used by police nationwide.

Minneapolis police and the Minnesota Fusion Center are also using Clearview AI, BriefCam, Ring doorbell cameras, Axon police body cameras, ShotSpotter and license plate readers to create an intimate view of people’s lives.

BuzzFeed’s article also revealed how police use Arxys “Milestone” software which uses video detection and analytics to identify people.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a surveillance white paper that it uses Arxys [Milestone] software — a video management tool that claims to offer “video motion detection” and “video analytics” — to analyze CCTV footage.

While both articles do a great job of revealing some of the ways law enforcement can monitor anyone, it really did not go into detail about how invasive Big Tech’s surveillance devices truly are.

Let’s say you use your smartphone for everything; texts, phone calls, pictures, music, etc. — if you also use Alexa or a NEST thermostat or any smart device in your home, these devices collect, store and transmit all that personal data, which police can use to identify a person. Police can also identify people who use a tablet or laptop, because like a phone they have an IP and MAC address.

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COVID Reference

Six weeks after the third edition, the world has changed again.
The pandemic is raging in South America, particularly in Brazil,
Ecuador and Peru. SARS-CoV-2 is under control in China, but in
Iran it is not. And in Europe, where most countries have weathered
the first wave and open borders to save a compromised tourist season, is now wondering if and for how long this biological
drôle de guerre could last.

Science has moved ahead, too. We have seen a more complex
picture of COVID-19 and new clinical syndromes; the first data
from vaccine trials; first results from randomized controlled
drug studies; encouraging publications on monoclonal neutralizing antibodies and serological evidence about the number of people who have come into contact with SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, we have also seen the first science scandal with fake data published in highly ranked journals. And we face new challenges like long-term effects of COVID-19 and a Kawasaki-like inflammatory multisystem syndrome in children.

For quite some time, prevention will continue to be the primary
pillar of pandemic control. In future waves of the SARS-CoV-2
pandemic, we will focus on the conditions under which SARSCoV-
2 is best transmitted: crowded, closed (and noisy) places and
spaces. Although hospitals are not noisy, they are crowded and
closed, and the battle against the new coronavirus will be decided
at the very center of our healthcare system. Over the next
months and maybe years, one of all of our top priorities will be
to give all healthcare workers and patients perfect personal protective equipment.