Virginia has become the first state in the nation to offer for download a contact tracing Apple and Google API app aimed — according to government — at stopping and slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
And so it begins: One of modern government’s cleverest means of tracking and surveilling its people, and all for the good health of the people, to boot.
COVIDWISE, as it’s called, is being pushed by the state’s Department of Health with a promise of unrivaled privacy protections and the dangly diamond-in-the-rough whisper of saving citizens from this terrible virus and getting us all back to some semblance of societal normalcy.
The way it works is it “relies on the exchange of anonymous Bluetooth tokens between devices, with no location data or personal information collected or shared,” to alert when one smartphone carrier who’s tested positive for the coronavirus comes within a few feet of another smartphone carrier, Mac Rumors wrote.
It’s all anonymous. All private. Until it isn’t, that is.
“[Privacy’s] at the core of what we do as an agency,” said Jeff Stover, with the Virginia Department of Health, to WUSA 9.
That’s probably what the Department of Veteran Affairs maintained — before 26.5 million of its accounts were hacked in 2006. Same with the U.S. voter database — before 191 accounts were hacked in 2015. Same with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — before 21 million or so accounts were hacked, beginning in 2013 through 2015. Same with the Virginia Department of Health Professions — before 8.3 million accounts were