• Jun Park

Civil Liberties debate : A practical solution?

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

For the last weeks we have seen multiple debates spark over how to combat the Covid-19 epidemic around the world and how the quarantine measures impact the civil liberties of people, and how the measures in Asian countries were effective but impossible to implement in western societies.

The current strategy that today is working has been testing, testing, and more testing. The more we test, the more we know. The more we know, the better decisions we can make.

On March 6th, we posted how Google spills the beans, where Google, using anonymous data, compiled the date to share the movement and change in behavior of the people to see measure the effectiveness of the quarantines have been, and how people were following them.

The last years, we have seen the likes of Facebook and Google have to respond about the huge implications the Terms and Conditions contracts have on the civil liberties of people, and do not know what they are really agreeing to.

What if the biggest service providers cooperated, just like we are seeing Google and Apple present a joint proposal to combat this epidemic.


What if we made a new option in the same application that already exists that has all the necessary information (including your identity), in order to monitor,and store the movement pattern of individuals. The technology is there, what if we made the legal choice for people to OPT-IN to this data network.

Many of us have been okay with giving our personal data in return for free apps, wouldn't we be willing to give it up to save lives? To save our lives?

If we made this opt-in mandatory for those who have coronavirus, and give them the option to opt-out once the quarantine is over, aren't we doing exactly what we should do, give the choice to the people?

Additionally, for those not in mandatory quarantine, could simply turn off their GPS service in their phone with the a simple tap, and be able to ease their privacy concerns. Opt-out if they do not want.

This could allow people to have a digital footprint to their location and could easily be used to compile the data to trace real outbreaks and effectively activate quarantine protocols and healthcare in a targeted form, rather than what we see challenging with today's blanket form.

For those who don't have a smartphone and are positive, there is a very likely possibility for the states or federal services could provide such technology.

The solution seems simple, clean, and most of all, the most democratic option in times were our civil liberties are in such murky waters already.

The big opt-in!