Devices used for tracking individuals who might show early signs of COVID-19 symptoms have been raising concerns on possible surveillance issues in the long run.
BioButton, a COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring Device for Everyone
BioIntelliSense, Inc., has developed the BioButton, a small wearable device made specifically to monitor someone’s vital signs for 90-days.
FDA has approved the use of the device for early virus detection.
The coin-sized device continuously monitors people’s temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate to identify early symptoms of COVID-19.
BioButton’s feature aims to fill the gap in tracing COVID-19 among the asymptomatic patients who usually don’t show any signs of the virus but still can infect other people.
The wearable device also makes use of analytics to identify “meaningful trends” useful for screening potential COVID-19 infection.
It also makes use of applications available for Android and iOS for greater data accessibility.
According to BioIntellisense, aside from the daily screening, it makes use of “cleared” and “not cleared” badges.
Those badges inform users and schools or businesses if it is already safe to return to school or work.
Lastly, the company ensures that users’ privacy is safe due to its “end-to-end encryption” feature.
According to the company, the data is directly sent to secure storage.
Opinion: Despite Privacy Concern, Is it Worth It?
According to a New York Times report, Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, is getting ready to disseminate BioButton among its students to increase safety.
Aside from them, athletes and some businesses have been wearing proximity and monitoring devices.
Those devices detect exposure to the virus or contact trace individuals.
However, some privacy experts and civil rights advocates worry about possible future misuse of wearable surveillance technologies, per Times.
In fact, it might worsen the already extensive tracking tech companies like Facebook and Google does to its users.
Another thing they worry about is employers and law enforcement using that technology to track individuals and reconstruct their locations and social networks.
Aside from the dangers of keeping one’s job, it can also endanger students and political activists.
So, is using those devices to help curb the virus all worth it for sacrificing one’s privacy or data?
Yes and No.
We are already in an era where tech companies like Facebook and Google take some of our data and sell it to other companies.
So why not sacrifice a bit of those to better causes like curbing the virus and protecting yourself and other people around you?
Moreover, what people can do is lobby into policy more protection and regulation of data to protect users’ and privacy.