Taste loss and odor loss are well-known symptoms associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also add a monitoring and “big data” expert, a loss of privacy.
How Canadian personal information was used and misused during the pandemic is the subject of a report by David Lyon of the Queen’s University Surveillance Research Center, presented Wednesday at the University of Ottawa’s “Big Data” conference. The rush to collect data during the pandemic was different from what was seen after the 9/11 attacks, Lyon wrote.
Advances in StingRay mobile phone trackers, facial recognition technology, powerful machine learning programs, and more have made police more accessible to tools for collecting personal data than ever before.
This report identifies the risk of so-called “biased information” that arises when businesses and governments accumulate large amounts of personal information without the knowledge of private citizens.
For several months in Ontario, police had access to data collected for epidemiological purposes. Lyon reported that “thousands of fraudulent searches” were conducted through first responder portals.
The pandemic also exposed social vulnerabilities to misinformation, said Charlie Angus, an NDP member of Timmins-James Bay who joined the panel with advocates of civil liberties.
“What I saw after the pandemic was that things were seriously broken,” Angus said. “People are broken. Our conversation is broken. And that’s a serious threat to us Canadians,” Angus said. “And it comes down to finding a balance between the right to data, privacy, and the right to privacy and the right to democracy in the surveillance era.”
He said algorithms and machine learning have gradually manipulated opinions and actions.
“For the last two years we’ve lived online, and we’re starting to duplicate behavior based on the behavior of the machine,” he warned.
Angus explained that during the occupation of Ottawa, his Facebook feed was flooded with disinformation posts from fake sites. He said the disinformation wasn’t just from malicious “data mercenaries.”
“It was created by our neighbors, our nieces, our colleagues who were immersed in this alternative world that was being supplied to them by the algorithm,” Angus said. “What we saw during the occupation was the intensification of those who I didn’t think was impossible.”
Also, not everyone is equally vulnerable to monitoring. Certain exposed groups, such as blacks, indigenous peoples, people of color, the poor and the homeless, are more likely to be targeted by police and have personal data collected and stored.
Meghan McDermott, Head of Policy for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, described the powerful surveillance deployed against indigenous protesters in the Trans Mountain pipeline in northern BC. She said the surrounding forest and a mysterious “robot watchtower” with cameras, floodlights, loudspeakers and sensors were set up in Crownland.
McDermott and BCCLA could not know who was monitoring and why they were being monitored.
“We did our best to understand who these people were and what they were doing with the information they gathered. We have been in dire straits. “She said.
Surveillance shows how to identify and label specific groups, such as indigenous protesters and land advocates, as “potential threats.”
Fighting such abuse requires stronger legislation that can keep up with rapidly evolving technologies, Lyon said. And people need to be aware of the growing threat to their privacy.
“Big data affects everyone in Canada’s diverse societies,” he said. “It’s important to raise awareness about what’s happening and how everyday choices and opportunities are affected.”
The Beyond Big Data Surveillance Conference will take place on Thursday at the University of Ottawa.
Another threat from COVID — enhanced surveillance and loss of privacy
Source link Another threat from COVID — enhanced surveillance and loss of privacy