Temporary security measures can soon become permanent
Governments around the world are using high-tech surveillance measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak. But are they worth it?
Edward Snowden doesn’t think so.
“When we see emergency measures passed, particularly today, they tend to be sticky,” Snowden said in an interview with the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.
The emergency tends to be expanded. Then the authorities become comfortable with some new power. They start to like it.
Supporters of the draconian measures argue that normal rules are not enough during a pandemic and that the long-term risks can be addressed once the outbreak is contained. But a brief suspension of civil liberties can quickly be extended.
Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.
Take the proposals to monitor the outbreak by tracking mobile phone location data.