We’ve seen before — notably after September 11, 2001 — how a crisis can result in damage to rights and freedoms that persists long after the initial cause of public panic.
Some advocates for restrictions on individuals and our movements and activities will exploit any crisis to ratchet the mechanisms of surveillance and control tighter.
Other officials, including many who mean well but are too traumatized to recognize the long-term consequences of their short-term actions, will advocate “temporary” restrictions on individual rights and freedoms that almost inevitably become permanent.
We don’t yet know what the cost in lost lives of the coronavirus pandemic will be. But we can already see the outlines of some of its potential cost in lost civil liberties.
Earlier in the pandemic, we reminded our readers of the risks of abuse of overbroad quarantine powers. But that’s only one aspect of the problem.
The basic methodology of control of travel and movement is that compulsory identification of travelers enables surveillance (tracking and logging) of travel and movement histories, and control of future movements based on individuals’ identities and the histories and other databases of personal information linked to those identities.
Already, changes to policies and practices related to (1) identification, (2) surveillance, and (3) control of travelers have all been proposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic: Read More