In mid-April Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham contracted local Santa Fe tech company Descartes Labs to gather cell phone data for use in developing social distancing models to gauge how well residents are adhering to the stay-at-home order. While no one at the state level or in the Governor’s administration has direct access to the data, the privacy implications of tracking New Mexicans cell phones are striking to say the least. NMBC President and Founder Carla Sonntag spoke with New Mexico Business Daily regarding the tracking “She hired a third party to track our cell phones so that they can tell if people are staying home or going out and congregating in large quantities over the allowed five people. […] A lot of people have concerns that this decision is overreaching, unconstitutional and a violation of their rights.” Read the full story HERE.
Another pair of companies showed this month how tracking location data from phones can be used to monitor the spread of the virus. X-Mode and Tectonix focused the phones of people who visited the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in March – among them spring breakers who made national news last month when they ignored warnings to practice social distancing despite the worsening coronavirus pandemic. The ability of this technology to assist in preventing and tracking the spread of disease is impressive but so is it’s unrestrained capability to infringe on our freedom of movement. Watch the video demonstration HERE.