During a public health crisis, anything is possible. As conditions are monitored day-to-day, the uncertainty of life as we know it abounds. Risks of all kinds are heightened during a pandemic, leaving governing bodies with the responsibility of coming up with informed solutions to mitigate any form of threat. While we cannot always prevent the onset of an outbreak, there have been discussions on how to curb the spread. This is where digital surveillance tools and data security measures come in.
A Domino Effect
Pandemics do not only affect individuals, they remind us that we are part of a greater ecosystem. This means that any actions or moves we make could have potentially fatal consequences on those around us. Unfortunately, many people might not realize how this domino effect can play out and lead to further destruction. This is the reason Digital Surveillance Technology has been considered. For some of these devices, their printed circuit boards (PCBs) have board cameras mounted on them. These are also known as PCB cameras which are small enough to fit into different forms. This is a sensible fit in surveillance technology, where cameras need to be concealed or generally more compact. For these sorts of devices, as well as others of all shapes and sizes, PCBs need to adapt to what they will be encased in.
Despite their smaller size, the capabilities of today’s PCBs are even more powerful. These days, flex PCBs are preferred for their better functionality, especially in cases where there is limited space. For surveillance equipment where durability is key, flex PCBs tend to be the best choice. Experts even say that flex PCBs will be an essential component of future technologies. Among these sophisticated tools which have already been tested on include CCTV cameras monitoring people in quarantine to location tracking which keeps updates on infected persons, persons under monitoring or investigation, and their place in the chain of transmissions to ensure the safety of others during a Pandemic. There are apps, electronic wristbands, security drones, and robots as well. However, ethics must always come into the picture when we talk about surveillance, intelligence, and security. The line between creating productive data security measures for the public and infringing on citizens’ privacy is a very fine line. Once a pandemic blows over, the question on how and when governments will stop collecting data is a concern that will remain.
Safety again enters the equation, not only in terms of where the pandemic is concerned but also in terms of data privacy as a result of digital surveillance. Governments and bodies responsible for implementation need to agree that these measures must always be conducted with the right intentions and authority. The World Health Organization has previously provided guidelines for surveillance in the time of a pandemic, and claim that the primary purpose for these surveillance tools is to monitor the course of the pandemic. Data gathered from security and surveillance should aid in risk and severity assessments which should take place throughout the existence of an outbreak. In another statement by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it’s been argued that governments should only be granted these additional security and Digital surveillance powers if the general public is informed of how the data is used and how it actually helps curtail the pandemic.
When these have been ironed out, then the likelihood of geo-intelligence platforms succeeding in their earnest goal of helping the general public may be heightened, especially because there will be greater cooperation among the people. Agencies, stakeholders, and governing bodies can then move forward and use the data gathered to focus on certain priorities, from health to safety and prevention.
Transparency is everything. If these security and surveillance tools are coupled with communication and consent, then they could possibly lead to clear-cut policies related to the pandemic and safety of the public, as well as continued safeguarding of citizens’ data privacy. It’s all about finding the logical middle ground.
For more information on the role of modern tools during a pandemic, check out our previous post here.
Exclusively written for liveearth.com, by Brigid Jarrod