We all love the Chippy.
He’s brilliant, likeable, highly intelligent and can make a cheeky joke about his spread your legs gaffe that’s just risqué enough before the joyless puritanical woke start a non-consent petition on Action Station because a heteronormative white cis male used sex as word play during a public statement.
Chippy’s got it all.
However while we all love the cheeky Chippy, his assurances that mandatory tacking data will only be used by public health track and trace teams means sweet fuck all!
As of midnight last night, it is mandatory for most businesses and event organisers to give customers a way to record their visit.
While no one can be forced to scan in, it is being made increasingly difficult to resist and there are fears tracing data could be accessed by businesses, police or social services.
The Ministry of Health is running reassuring ads saying the digital diary on the government’s NZ Covid Tracer app “is kept safe and secure on your phone, and will only be shared with a contact tracer if you allow it”.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said there was plenty of protection.
“The government has been at pains to reassure people that the information they supply to assist with the critical task of contact tracing will not be used for any other purposes,” Hipkins said in a statement.
“We will not budge on this.”
However, many academics, Māori, Pasifika and lawyers are demanding more specific legislation.
Jacinta Fa’alili-Fidow of the Pacific Data Sovereignty Network says the collective benefit of getting the data is proven, but the Minister’s reassurances are “certainly not enough”.
“And we certainly don’t think that the punitive measures that are in place are sufficient either.”
She wants tougher fines for data abusers.
Simpson Grierson law firm partner Karen Ngan said the risks were real despite the Privacy Act, Bill of Rights Act and and the Judicial Review Procedure Act cited by Minister Hipkins, and the Covid privacy statement itself.
“It still doesn’t stop another government agency, particularly a law enforcement agency, seeking that information from business or … seeking a search warrant or a production order,” Ngan said.
Look, we can’t have this data being exploited by other state agencies beyond health professionals trying to contain a pandemic!
We all agree to curtail our personal liberty for the collective good and that now extends to mandatory collection of our private journeys.
The State must legislatively act now to enshrine this enormous collection of private information within clear law that removes its use from anything other than the public health containment of this pandemic!
NZ is coming out of lockdown 4 into a world of restricted liberties and mandatory social distancing, it will not be the freedom nor agency we have sacrificed for and to now use compulsory information in a way that is exploitable by a mass surveillance state would be a betrayal of our good will!
If the Government has legislative time to ram through gay conversion laws for crimes they can’t quantify, they sure as Christ have time to pass legislation that protects our collective privacy that we have agreed to part with in the fight against this virus!
Around the world we are seeing Governments using this pandemic to build an intrusive mass surveillance infrastructure that goes even deeper into monitoring us.
We have sacrificed too much to now lose so much.
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