Trading Privacy for the Illusion of Safety

Privacy is the ransom for the illusion of safety as well as permission to exercise other freedoms that have been taken away.

October 26, 2020

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

privacy passport The surveillance state has managed to expand in large part because people subscribe to the existence of boogeymen from which they need protection.

Remember terrorists? Next thing you know, there’s a TSA rifling through your stuff. Stealing people’s belongings. Groping people.

Remember money launderers and tax evaders? Next thing you know we have a “coin shortage” and a quiet agenda urging people to move toward a cashless society. Not at all a coincidence that digital payments are more traceable.

Remember drunk drivers? Next thing you know you have sobriety check points whose only probable cause to stop or detain you is that you happen to be traveling down a particular piece of highway.

None of this stuff has made Americans safer. It has created criminals though and raised suspicions on benign people doing the most mundane things.

It’s also gotten to the point where people can’t do anything without signing away their privacy to do it. Email accounts, social media accounts, messaging accounts, all seek some sort of waiver of our privacy to work.

As we’d mentioned last week, the IRS was recently brought up on charges for illegally using phone location data for their investigations. They circumvented the whole fourth amendment process of obtaining a warrant, and just bought the location data from a company called Venntel.

Venntel is a data aggregator that collects location data from game and weather apps. They are also being investigated for selling information to the DHS.

This is what the department of motor vehicles has been doing with their data: selling it. And they make millions doing exactly that. You pretty much can’t do anything without either a passport or a drivers license, and they know it. So you go get one, give them all the information they want, and then they sell it. Sometimes they just hand it over to ICE or the FBI.

This doesn’t just affect the US. Beijing and London have been criticized for being the most surveilled cities in the world. We are finding ourselves at a new plateau where surveillance presents as a practical solution for the worry warts.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: The Digital Health Passport.

This is a combination of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s idea of “immunity certificates” and contact tracing. Fauci’s “immunity certificates” would be a sort of “all clear” for that person to return to their lives working, shopping, etc. Many think this is important to really get society back to pre-covid normalcy. But some see it as a stigma:

Harald Schmidt, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, compared immunity documents to crosses that marked the homes of those infected with plague in Europe in centuries past. An immunity certificate would be a “badge of honor,” he said, and those without one would be marginalized.

I’m having a difficult time distinguishing it from East German Stasi papers, but okay.

The Digital Health Passport is exactly as it sounds: it is a certification that you have met medical criteria to travel internationally. Long before COVID-19, countries required vaccination records be current before entry. Southeast Asian countries in particular were adamant about that. Not difficult to provide that information at the time of your visa application.

This information would now be built into your passport digitally, and generate a QR code for clearance. It’s being tested on United Airways from London Heathrow Airport to Newark.

It’s called CommonPass. It’s backed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), with its proponents claiming this gives countries a sensible way to open back up to international travel.

The Lancet addresses the concerns associated with immunity passports:

Some have argued that immunity passports are unethical and impractical, pointing to uncertainties relating to COVID-19 immunity, issues with testing, perverse incentives, doubtful economic benefits, privacy concerns, and the risk of discriminatory effects.

This publication still thinks that if there’s a way to seek permission out of lock downs we should use it. But this is a perverse way to seek freedom: by negotiating some of it away to get some of it back?

Having all this information has yet to yield real results.

The TSA has yet to isolate a single terrorist. But they have had to rely on qualified immunity because the odds of being inappropriately handled or stolen from by the TSA is much greater than the threat of terrorism at this point.

Sobriety check points are not nearly ass efficient in identifying drunk drivers as patrolling is. People simply reroute around the checkpoints. Other crimes are much higher since so many resources are dedicated to this outposts.

And a cashless society is only driving people to cryptocurrencies.

The only argument I’ve seen that defends this policy is that it would make it look like governments are doing something to appease those who want safety in international travel. The fact is, none of this is really necessary, nor will it help anyone.

It’s one of those “at least I’m doing something” protocols that ultimately impose on the liberties of others, disproportionately favor one group over another, and force people to pay for one freedom with others.

Of course if that wasn’t humiliating enough, the watchful eye of the state involving itself in your healthcare is not where this will stop. In fact, odds are this will lead to some form of international contact tracing scheme.

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