This post is in response to the article: “Contact Tracing Program Introduced in Kentucky” on Lex18.com.
Our newly appointed Kentucky governor introduced a seven month contact tracing program yesterday during a press conference. It’s basically a strategy to follow around victims of COVID-19 (unspecified as to how) and then health officials will contact the dozens or hundreds of people those victims came in contact with and they will follow up with these contacted people with those annoying questions everyday for, I’m assuming, two weeks: “Have you had symptoms of a fever?” “How do you feel currently?” etc.
Except they wouldn’t have to ask if they’ve been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they’ve traveled internationally recently, because they will have those answers available, thanks to the tracing program.
On the one hand, it seems like a good use of technology and promoting safety amongst the citizens of the state.
But safety against what, exactly?
I’m not an anti-corona guy, though I do think it’s been magnified (check out my thoughts on that here.) I won’t list all the hundreds of things that more people die of per day in a given year because we’ve all seen the videos and statistics (if not, here’s a source).
The point is, there are much better reasons to trace people. I believe people convicted of sexual crimes with minors are tagged with an ankle bracelet, so that’s good. What about recovering addicts who sign a consent waiver? Those are good reasons to trace people, in my opinion. If you think of a third reason, let me know.
But we’re in a world now where free and innocent people with a flu bug have to be tracked by the government? Yikes.
Now, I’ll be honest. When I saw that Will Smith movie, Enemy of the State, back in 1998, I couldn’t figure out what the big problem was. Why was there a growing paranoia of the government watching us? And even up until fairly recently I was very passive about the Patriot Act, because my thought process was: “I’ve got nothing to hide; so what?”
But the truth is, most people have nothing to hide. Therefore, as a society, we’ve earned the right to maintain that freedom of privacy. Now, if ten or twenty percent of America’s population were victim-minded criminals and terrorists, then I think it’d be fair to be having this conversation about tracing people’s footsteps.
Not to make too forward of a connection, consider Nazi Germany. The Nazis were told they were liberated and so on, but even they were tracked by the Gestapo.
The takeaway from this post isn’t that I’m comparing mid-2020 America to Nazi Germany, because I’m not.
But let’s focus in on the most alarming part of this article I listed above. Governor Andy Beshear, upon introducing the seven month contact tracing program, said that it will combine public participation and technology.
The article goes on to state that contact officials (700 hired) will contact individuals who have tested positive and then retrace their steps.
Notice what’s missing between the two paragraphs above?
I’m left wondering what this technology is that Beshear hints at. Is it the tracking application that was updated to most of our phones? Is it going to be time for us to soon be microchipped?
And what about this public participation he’s urging from us? I feel like that’s also a little haunting, but I think I’ve spoken enough on this topic for now. I’d really like to know what your thoughts are on this topic.
One thing’s for sure. The discussion has finally been put on the table: It’s no longer, “What does freedom mean to me?” Now, it’s,”What is freedom? And how far is it still able to stretch?”