So, you think we can go back to gathering in crowds again, huh?
Yeah, but no.
First, most of the country very much does not have this pandemic under enough control to do that.
But even if we did, our health care system and technology base are in no way ready for what will be needed from them.
And our privacy protections are absurdly inadequate.
You can see this very clearly when you start looking into what data the government is sourcing from private businesses rather than acquiring it for themselves.
That’d be “most of it”.
And why might that be, you wonder?
Because we actually have laws about what they can get directly.
(Though they are frankly honored more in the breach than the observance …)
See, the government is allowed to gather pretty much any data it needs but with the one restriction that it must demonstrate to a court that it does in fact need that data, and for a legitimate purpose.
(Again: the restrictions do exist, but are for the most part ignored in practice …)
But we have no restrictions on what data the government can buy.
And given that the federal government at least has effectively unlimited money available, it’s hella easier for them to just go to your cell carrier and buy the records for thousands of users than it would be for them to get a warrant for the data about just one user.
Even given the shoddy enforcement of the laws restricting direct access.
So, that solution seems simple then.
First, obviously, we need to start actually enforcing the laws that require the government to have a specific legitimate need for a piece of information before they can demand it.
But then we need to extend those laws to forbid the government from just buying any data that it wouldn’t be able to get a warrant to acquire directly.
Becuase we have to fix this before they launch their “track and trace” initiatives.