South Korea is Tracking MERS Quarantined Victim’s Cell Phones
The good news in South Korea is the the government is now tracking the cell phones of people who have been quarantined with MERS infections. The bad news is that the government is now tracking the cell phones of people who have been quarantined with MERS infections. It is a now a question of tracking that is making some people ask whether the implementation of a Big Brother police state measure is a short term solution that could open up long term complications.
“Please understand this is an unavoidable measure for the sake of our neighbors and families,” Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said at a news conference Sunday.
The government has faced harsh criticism for not disclosing the severity of the outbreak or the locations where the infections were treated. They released that information after public pressure forced their hands with 24 health facilities identified publicly. They also announced the size of the mandatory quarantine: 2300 people, most of whom are still at their homes. An entire village of 105 people has also been isolated and quarantined with nobody going in and nobody coming out.
Containment is the second most important aspect of controlling an outbreak like this with development of an effective treatment being the most important, but the measures through which a government contains an outbreak calls to mind other issues. With cell phone tracking being extremely easy and a good chunk of the civilized world moving to mobile phones as their primary method of communication, this seems like a good test of the reactions that people will have to such actions. If the population in South Korea is so ready to embrace this type of Draconian measure, it’s likely that western cultures would accept them as well.
All it takes is an outbreak of some sort spreading across America or through Europe and suddenly the whereabouts of citizens can be constantly tracked. Is this acceptable?