Visible Enemies Versus Invisible Enemies
Crimes are not only more visible than pathogens but their eradication takes a larger share of government budgetary allocations than the fight against pathogens, unless of course it’s the pathogens being used in committing the crime which makes the process a crime in and of itself.
In December 2015 a one Syed Farook opened gun fire targeted at Department of Public Health in San Bernardino, California in the United State of America (USA) and killed 14 people before he was killed in the same shooting.
In December 2019, a Saudi cadet shot and killed three people before he was shot by the security force at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida in USA.
It is not very disturbing that both of these shootings occurred in December or that people were killed in both incidents.
What is disturbing is that the iPhones belonging to the shooters in both cases were recovered as crime exhibits but Apple Inc. refused to help the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to open them for use in further investigations about the crimes.
In their defense not to decrypt the phones, Apple cites user privacy and the possible creation of precedence for governments to have the right to sneak into all the population’s phones.
Well, I’m well aware that these are suspects and that they could be innocent as they could have acted under duress.
However, there is no better way to justify their innocence than perusing the contents of their phones to check online conversations and any other electronic engagements however private they may be.
What Apple could do is to sign a memorandum of understanding between itself and the FBI asserting that the granted access should only apply to these particular phones.
Well, who cares what I think. “The law is the law!”, so they say!
Again, what is disturbing is not that Apple refused to unlock the iPhones for the FBI to monitor and scrutinize the contents.
In what seems like an unlikely event, in the wake of the Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), Apple and Google are now going against their user privacy commitments.
They are investing heavily in phone applications with the capacity to trace movement so as to enable governments remotely monitor movements of people, each time recording who they are coming into contact with.
Even the people, like Israelites who were initially against this mass phone surveillance are now in agreement with it for the sake of combating the pandemic.
South Korea offers a quintessential representation of this contact tracing.
In South Korea, people are now required by law to download the health ministry’s self-diagnosis app. and update the details of their well-being in relation to COVID-19, every day.
By remote observation, the ministry is then able to mark out suspects and trace their movements in relation to whom they come into proximity with.
The ministry immediately sends you a social-distancing alert message when you come in the vicinity of a suspected COVID-19 case.
Whether people will still be in agreement of this mass phone surveillance after the pandemic is gone, if it goes anyway, is still unknown.
Otherwise to see that a virus is calling for such mass phone surveillance yet crimes could not, is telling of how self-defeatist and fragile the institutions mankind has created are.