[Cryptography] Privacy post COVID

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Wed Apr 8 11:39:59 EDT 2020

On Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 1:52 AM Henry Baker <hbaker1 at pipeline.com> wrote:

> At 06:41 PM 4/6/2020, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> >On Mon, 6 Apr 2020, Christian Huitema wrote:
> >>And I like the idea that the mask confuses face recognition.
> >
> >And walk with a limp to defeat gait analysis...  I understand that the
> CCP uses it (and apologies for the lack of references).
> Don't forget that video can now detect heart rate (thanks, MIT).  So a
> screen fingerprint reader should now be able to do this.
> DARPA zeroing in on ability to characterize & identify people via heart
> rhythms (also from video -- not iWatch skin measurement).

There are two problems here. One is how to end the lockdown and the other
is how to protect privacy.

I am pretty sure we are going to be seeing attempts to introduce
surveillance technology that is a lot more intrusive. But thats not the
only thing likely to be happening. A lot of countries are likely headed for
a lot of civil unrest. Authoritarianism is a brittle form of government,
they are prone to collapse.

The normal pushback against surveillance is that the authorities are only
interested in 'those' people so if you are not one of 'those' people, you
have nothing to worry about. That tends to fall apart when everyone is one
of 'those' people. The consequences of mass surveillance are suddenly

I am seeing a lot of people making unilateral demands for privacy
protection and a lot of people making unilateral demands for tracking of
potential infection. But I am seeing almost no interest in attempting to
find solutions inbetween. And if push comes to shove, I can't see privacy
winning if the alternative is staying inside for two an extra months.

What we need to be looking at is what is essential in an infection tracking
technology and what is not. And that is pretty difficult when we have a
bunch of governments still trying to cover up for their earlier blunders.
The UK govt. is still trying to argue that it wasn't a mistake to keep the
schools open for two weeks longer than the rest of Europe which is a big
problem when there are ministerial advisers whose only qualification is in
Greek poetry arguing to re-open the schools right now.
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