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Would you help and use Clearview if it was being used in your governments strategy against coronavirus?

Would you volunteer your time to tag images with your friends and acquaintances, to help slow down the virus? To do otherwise would be immoral and lead to the death of thousands, right?

To those worried about that, it's just temporary. It would just last a few months and then you don't need to worry about it any more. This is a global war and we have to make sacrifices and take important actions.

Yuval Noah Harrari, "The world after coronavirus"


Bruce Schneier, "Emergency Surveillance During COVID-19 Crisis"


I'd have very grave misgivings.

Thank you for the links. Listening to them reminds me of my interaction with similar thoughts.

I was in a startup accelerator near the end of last year and many of the business ideas that some of my teams came up with were data oriented and how it could be better gathered or used for good purposes. Or for profit and control. For example measuring people's location, driving speed and brake force to give discounts for car insurance. We found out that some companies do this already, and others are asking for it. And that was not even in an emergency context.

From another viewpoint, the more data we get, the more sensitive we will get for the "crises", or we can define simpler things as "crises" anyway. And that will demand more data gathering. If we allow using data to stop Coronavirus for example, we can call "the flu" as something to tackle, if only we had more information about the people. Why not the cold, too, after the flu?

I feel that it is inevitable.

Yes I will. But only if assurances are made that all this work will be destroyed after the pandemic is over. I give my consent for one task and after that task is over that data should not be used. Its the same case as people being allowed to kill in war but not after. Although weapons are kept after wars strict measures are in place to stop them from reaching unauthorized hands. These measures are not perfect but they are really good and in good faith should be continuously improved.

"It would just last a few months and then you don't need to worry about it any more."

I heard about this before...


This isn’t even a hard question.

What if everyone around you told you that by not using it you were contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands?

Edits - and what if your friends and family tag you and add your details instead? That way you dont need to actively support it.

Isn’t this part of the original question? No. The justification for mass surveillance and totalitarianism is always “it will make us safer in the short term.”

No one who knows me will be surprised to find out that I think it creates larger long term dangers or that safety isn’t my highest value in any case.

Response to the edit: I don’t know how I would react, because they didn’t have malicious intent, but they still wronged me. I would be angry with them, and it would definitely have a negative effect on our relationships.

I wouldn’t look down on anyone who wanted to tag their own photos.

And I would be willing to do geo tracking with something that I believed was actually temporary. Give me a dongle I can throw away when this is all over and I’ll carry it around.

Herbert Simon, Nobel laureate in economics and one of the fathers of AI, wrote one of the better treatments of the possible future of computer-based data systems in his 1977 essay "What Computers Mean for Man and Society". In it, he addresses concerns: "The privacy issue has been raised most insistently with respect to the creation and maintenance of longitudinal data files that assemble information about persons from a multitude of sources. Files of this kind would be highly valueable for many kinds of economic and social research, but they are bought at too high a price if they endanger human freedom or seriously enhance the opportunities of blackmailers. While such dangers should not be ignored, it should be noted that the lack of comprehensive data files has never been the limiting barrier to the suppression of human freedom. The Watergate criminals made extensive, if unskillful, use of electronics, but no computer played a role in their conspiracy. The Nazis operated with horrifying effectiveness and thoroughness without the benefits of any kind of mechanized data processing."


There is, of course, one slight problem with Simon's argument: The Nazis did make heavy use of mechanised data processing, provided and supported by IBM. Edwin Black documents this meticulously in his book IBM and the Holocaust:


Whether or not it's possible to transact genocide at similar scale without computerised data records, it's quite clearly far easier to do so with them. Worse, with comprehensive records and rapid identification of any particular meddlesome priest, activist artist, or woman who was warned but nevertheless persisted, it's possible for such regimes, state or non-state, to dip in and retaliate with pinpoint effectiveness. Even the mere suggestion that this is possible can be extraordinarily chilling.


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