The monitoring aspect is central, including on the subject of corona. The strengthening of tendencies towards mass control, some of which existed before the Corona episode, is clear. These tendencies are partly obscured by current debates about everyday restrictions – but the surveillance structures now being promoted in the shadow of the mask discussions are likely to last. These developments manifest themselves in various forms and intensities: there is, as a gentle form, a habit uhabitation to voluntary self-monitoring, for example via a Corona tracking app. This can be followed by planned certificates such as an ‘immunity card’ or the EU vaccination passport, based on an apparent ‘voluntary’ passport. Developments in the monitoring of citizens in the workplace are already threatening and are intensifying through Corona. These projects are accompanied by current advances such as the Digital Supply Act (DVG) for the exploitation of data health insurers. In addition, monstrous international plans, such as the ‘digital identity’ for every citizen of the earth, are being pushed forward. Details on these aspects will follow below.
One abuse does not justify the other
However, when one points out the dangers of these developments in mass control these days, one often gets the answer: “People use Google and Facebook anyway and thus give their data to corporations? Why do these people suddenly have privacy concerns now?” Example of this article is an example of this attitude, which states:
“How paradoxical. How inconsistent. Why do I entrust my fingerprint to a huge, often unscrupulous, American corporation that squeezes people beyond the limit of the resilient to make as much money as possible, but not to the German state? Why am I strongly opposed to facial recognition in public spaces, but i like to send “funny” videos with Instagram filters that scan my face and use the technology for other things, other than to conjure up a funny nose in my face to shoot?”
This statement is misleading for several reasons. First of all, both abuses of citizens' data must be rejected in an uncontrolled form: one existing abuse does not justify the other, which is to follow in addition. Citizens should be protected from both types of uncontrolled surveillance. The failure to adequately control companies such as Apple or Google cannot be inferred from the fact that this recklessness can now be extended to government data requests. On the contrary, the lack of data protection for citizens in the use of Internet services must finally be introduced by the legislator and enforced by the authorities. This protection must then also apply to access from the state. Private companies are not to be classified morally or politically in this text through public authorities.
People were lured into social media – even in the naive belief that adequate control of the networks and the protection of citizens by jurisprudence could have been assumed in the rule of law in Germany. In the meantime, the disconcerting practice of dealing with private data by Internet companies is clear to many people, but the use of many Internet services is now so closely intertwined with everyday life that an exit is complicated.
Internet companies are double-edged
This leads to another point: Google and Facebook have a partial benefit for citizens, even if the price in the form of data provided is too high: journalists, for example, would find it difficult to dispense with Google’s service. The effect of Facebook or Youtube is also double-edged: on the one hand, the services play an important role for many alternative media and thus for a new public. On the other hand, they unite many negative aspects of large private corporations: self-aggrandism, tax avoidance, data abuse, working conditions, censorship, etc. It must also be stressed time and again that the data collected there can end up with credit institutions or health insurers via detours, which can lead, for example, to the denial of credit. “Funny” face apps can be used to build facial recognition databases. The aspect that many Internet companies are increasingly exercising a private and questionable form of censorship of political content should be emphasized here, but not considered in detail.
It has long been known that international intelligence services are scanning international communications. This does not mean that we should accept this state of affairs. And it certainly does not mean that similar opportunities should be opened up to the “own” secret services or even to employers.
Incidentally, it is not true that ‘we are all’ in Internet services. A minority has bravely resisted the temptations, they have had to experience many social disadvantages for this, and they feel betrayed when they are thrown into a pot with the “easy” Facebook users. In addition, police authorities (at least officially) are not simply allowed to access the data of internet providers, here there are (at least officially) legal hurdles that have to be overcome. This does not solve the problem of poor security, which permanently allows unofficial/illegal access to the data streams. However, these accesses are still considered illegal, and if this practice is made known, an investigation or even a scandal threatens. Legal hurdles against data misuse are therefore to be welcomed, even if they cannot prevent this abuse.
Corona: The potential of monitoring
The potential of monitoring the Corona episode has been addressed by various media outlets. Häring has also described where the journey could go in the long term. For example, there are indications that influential actors are striving to create a “digital identity” for all citizens of the world, in which, according to Häring, “travel history, bank details, hotel stays, car rental bookings, university documents, offices and much more” would be stored. The currently debated vaccination status, tracking “for virus prevention” and other alleged health constraints can be interpreted as a door opener for a much broader vision, according to this interpretation. Häring describes that the long-term goal of the efforts is a personalised, portable, biometrically connected digital identity that insists on life. The project is supported by some of the largest companies and foundations in the USA.
How the Digital Supply Act had tricked the “top data protectors and 73 million citizens” has been described in this article, for example, “Telepolis”. As in the shadow of Corona, a previously unthinkable surveillance could enter the working world, various media outlets have already reported.