We Don’t Need Big Brother to Beat This Virus

Is there a way to reopen the economy that doesn’t involve draconian surveillance measures?

AccessTimeIconApr 23, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:32 a.m. UTC

Is there a way to reopen the economy post-virus that doesn’t involve draconian surveillance measures?

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One of the key aspects of most plans to survive the virus and reopen the economy is digital contact tracing. This would be an apparatus whereby mobile phones kept track of the other mobile phones they had been physically proximate to, so that if someone were diagnosed with COVID-19 the at-risk people they had been in contact with could be notified. Apple and Google have proposed one plan while a European consortium is working on another. 

At the center of the issue is whether contact tracing can be done in a way that doesn’t violate privacy and doesn’t open a Pandora’s box of new issues around the data governments have on their citizens. 

Today’s episode of The Breakdown explores the crypto community’s response to contact tracing and why we don’t need big brother to beat the virus. 

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.