Tracking and tracing now is less valuable than it would have been six months ago.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize Picture: Jacques Nelles
There’s been plenty of scaremongering on social media about the Covid-19 smartphone app which President Cyril Ramaphosa touted on Wednesday night.
Ramaphosa urged South Africans to download and use the app (installation of which will be mandatory for all foreign visitors, he said) to help government track and trace the contacts of those who test positive for coronavirus. The app has been “zero-rated” by the cellphone networks, so downloading it will not raise data charges for the user.
The libertarians and conspiracy theorists have been complaining that the app is some sinister way the government can track your movements.
That ignores the reality that any data needed for the app to function stays on the phone and is not sent to a central data base. And, if there is such a privacy concern, why is no one complaining about the big internet giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter, which demand you sign away virtually all of your rights (to anything) as a condition of using their platforms?
The more important question is why this app has only been made available now, when the pandemic here is on the wane. Tracking and tracing now is less valuable than it would have been six months ago.
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