Tags: Coronavirus | virus tracing | tracking technology | privacy | surveillance | office

Virus Tracking Tech Raises Privacy Concerns at Work

person holds a smartphone with a covid-19 tracking app opened on it
A smartphone with a coronavirus contact tracing app is shown in Brussels, Belgium, on May 28, 2020. (Thierry Roge/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 26 June 2020 09:14 AM

Privacy experts are growing worried at coronavirus tracking software and devices for businesses to use, saying they could lead to a surveillance state in the office.

Politico reported that as more companies start to reopen their offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to keep track of workers' health and their interactions with others are important in the fight against the virus. But high-tech tools used in that effort could be used for things beyond health reasons.

"The risk is that [tracking technologies] become an avenue for more extensive data collection that's really unconnected with the public health emergency and they will continue on after the public health emergency is over," Pauline Kim, an employment law expert at Washington University in St. Louis, told Politico.

Amazon, for example, is testing a technology that monitors how far apart workers are from each other. Other tools monitor employees' health and flag anyone who has symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection.

Some tools, Politico noted, could be used to keep tabs on workers and whether they are at their desk or if they've stepped out of the office during the workday.

"Routine tracking of people's movements [even] on premises is not something we've historically ever needed, outside of these circumstances," Alan Butler, interim head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Politico.

Newsmax reported in April about the privacy concerns posed by things like thermal cameras in the workplace.

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Privacy experts are growing worried at coronavirus tracking software and devices for businesses to use, saying they could lead to a surveillance state in the office. Politico reported that as more companies start to reopen their offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need...
virus tracing, tracking technology, privacy, surveillance, office
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2020-14-26
Friday, 26 June 2020 09:14 AM
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