The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently approved a technology that aims to surveil people by their digital activity and give them scores that define their “potential level of superspreading activity.” Vaccination will then depend on the scores gathered using the technology.
The patent put forward by attorneys Gal Ehrlich and Maier Fenster of Ehrlich & Fenster proposes collecting a variety of personal information from different sources, such as mobile devices, apps, social media, web browsing records, payment records, medical records, employment records, the government, and other surveillance cameras.
It was also collect highly specific personal information from these sources, including precise location data, length of time spent at locations being visited, ventilation rates of these places, images of people looking at the screen of their mobile phones, sounds from microphones in personal devices, and facial recognition data.
The patent also proposes numerous political surveillance applications, which include detecting when people are using public transport by using geolocation and/or start-stop movements that match public transportation profiles. It will monitor when people are washing their hands by analysing sounds of water running or by smartwatch movement. It will also check whether people are wearing a mask by analysing images taken out during calls or by looking at the screen of the mobile phone.
Upon gathering data, the technology that was outlined in the patent will analyse data and assign scores to electronic devices. This score will predict the potential level of superspreading activities of individuals and will then recommend vaccinations according to scores.
Not only does the patent suggest mass electronic surveillance to create a social credit style score that determines whether or not they should be vaccinated, it also proposes that the technology be implemented as part of a “dedicated mandatory app” where the government monitor citizens to install the application on their smartphones to help the government with the logistics of the vaccination process.
The patent also adds that “in some embodiments” of the system, the app or the smart device is configured to inform about the user’s location at all times and to communicate with adjacent smart devices to assess interactions between users, their vicinity, or movement.
In determining the individual’s score, the patent suggests that a person’s profession, medical data, nature and type of locations they visit, their frequently visited locations and the length of time they spend at these locations should be used as part of the calculation. People who frequently attend religious or secular events, for instance, can receive a higher score for their involvement in contact events than those who do not engage in such activities.
The patent was approved last August 31st and follows governments around the globe in implementing far-reaching surveillance measures amidst the covid pandemic, such as vaccine passports that aim to exclude people from economic and social activities.