Balls to you, Google

Yesterday, TOC examined the Washington Post‘s disgust with Google and Apple for not creating a centralized database so government can retain information about each American’s whereabouts at all times.

I applaud both companies for this nod to privacy, but there is a catch or two when you consider Google’s other activities.

Google appears to fear the possible widespread condemnation of any such tracking app much more than any outcry over other surveillance and thought control initiatives.

Big Tech Is Turning Hospitals Into Real-Time Surveillance Centers

That’s not creepy. Right? I mean who would object to HD video of the insertion of their Foley catheter?

Personally, I regret not having a picture of my testicles when they were the size of volleyballs from IV fluids. It’s hard to get people to believe it. Nobody has ever asked to see a picture, though.

But a video? Think of the viral monetization potential with the right caption. If U of M had been filming it, I’m sure some interns would be streaming it even now.

YouTube Auto Deletes Comments With Terms That Insult Chinese Communist Party

I wonder if YouTube keeps a log of these auto-deleted CCP criticisms in order to match them up with your Google searches for “Wuhan flu.” You know, just in case evidence is needed later in the show-trials.

The Spanish flu app

I don’t want to send any traffic to this totalitarian screed, so no link.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless.
The tech giants have refused officials’ pleas to allow the collection of location data and to help contact-tracing teams learn where new infections have spread.

It’s a Washington Post article, execrable even by their abysmal standards. It assumes the CCP virus pandemic logically requires suspension of individual rights. The poor official’s pleas have been ignored. Well… not so much pleas as authoritarian demands.

Let’s start with some truth in headlining: It’s a people tracking system, not a virus tracking system. Viruses do not carry cell phones. Too bad.

The authors do go so far as to quote, without rebuttal, the director of research at a D.C. think tank “devoted to reducing the power of monopolies,” that if virus exposure tracking apps do not default to continuously tracking the location data of every individual, and record this in a centralized, health official accessible database:

“You have a private government [Google and Apple] that is making choices over your society instead of democratic governments being able to make those choices.”

Freedom respecting government does not pose this choice, except to informed volunteers. The WaPo scribblers do not even consider leaving privacy choices to individuals: Mob-majority governments which routinely reveal private information to health officials is the only useful approach. The Chinese Communist Party’s social credit program has already incorporated this insight. We don’t need that here.

Daring Fireball nails it, and gives a great overview creating no WaPo traffic. RTWT

WaPo reporters Reed Albergotti and Drew Harwell parade before us a series of public health officials and Progressive Think Tank spokesperps unleashing their inner fascist. It is discomfiting that the WaPo can find so many. Albergotti and Harwell conclude that Apple and Google are to be roundly castigated for placing individuals over the collective.

They are telling us salvation is in trusting the politicians and bureaucrats who oversaw such luminaries as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, secured the DNC email server, and were held accountable (not) for the 21.5 million stolen records at the United States Office of Personnel Management (Including fingerprints!), 26.5 million at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 76 million at the National Archives and Records Administration, and 191 million from the U.S. Voter Database. Just to mention some of the more egregious examples of government care for citizen’s information.

And this talk about “private government,” with no mention of Hillary’s bathroom email server is hilarious. And this,

“If it’s between Google and Apple having the data, I would far prefer my physician and the public health authorities to have the data about my health status,” she said. “At least they’re constrained by laws.”

…displays appalling ignorance of certain former Secretaries of State and Presidential candidate’s approach to public information. Here’s a woman whose health had a legitimate public interest. But, when she collapsed next to a NY bollard, we were told to ignore it. OK. Ignore me too, unless I tell you differently.

These critics of individual rights, you’re likely aware, are mostly the same people cheering on Facebook and Twitter in the quest to label as “hate speech” anyone who disagrees with the CDC, WHO, or the Chinese Communist Party theories of CCP virus contagion. And they seem blind to the fact that the actual monopolies are the governments and apparatchiks they promote.

I’ll admit it is a consistent political philosophy if you view individuals whose decisions you don’t like as deplorable. They should not speak freely (and corporations should stop them from doing so) and the government must be made aware of your whereabouts at all times (by those same corporations). These Quisling-wannabes have become known colloquially as ‘Karens’.

There certainly are public health officials who would disagree with the point, content, tone, and totalitarian policy suggestions of this ‘news’ article, but the ‘journalists’ couldn’t be bothered to find even one.

Such complaints about Google and Apple are surprising only to the extent the complainants haven’t suggested we each be assigned a personal tracking drone.

If the Weimar Republic had invented the WaPo preferred app in 1918 to track Spanish flu, Mengele would have inherited it. You could imagine he’s the culmination of the petty tyrant public health officials WaPo reporters seek out in order to write stories bashing private enterprises still devoting at least lip service to individuals and to freedom.

Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless. OK, so don’t use the data individuals choose to send you.

When you let me directly and precisely monitor your every move, I’ll think about letting you monitor mine. Fair’s fair.

Plus c’est la même chose

Excerpts from an extensive article at the National Institute of Health (Because this is an extended quote, I’ve chosen to italicize it rather than indent for readability.).

Citations omitted:

THE SARS EPIDEMIC AND ITS AFTERMATH IN CHINA: A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE

This “strange disease” alerted Chinese health personnel as early as mid-December. On January 2, a team of health experts was sent to Heyuan and diagnosed the disease as an infection caused by a certain virus… A Chinese physician, who was in charge of treating a patient from Heyuan in a hospital in Guangzhou, quickly reported the disease to a local anti-epidemic station… We have reason to believe that the local anti-epidemic station alerted the provincial health bureau about the disease,

On January 27, the report was sent to the provincial health bureau and, presumably, to the Ministry of Health in Beijing. The report was marked “top secret,” which meant that only top provincial health officials could open it.

Further government reaction to the emerging disease, however, was delayed by the problems of information flow within the Chinese hierarchy. For 3 days, there were no authorized provincial health officials available to open the document. After the document was finally read, the provincial bureau distributed a bulletin to hospitals across the province. However, few health workers were alerted by the bulletin because most were on vacation for the Chinese New Year. In the meantime, the public was kept uninformed about the disease.

[U]ntil such time as the Ministry chose to make information about the disease public, any physician or journalist who reported on the disease would risk being persecuted for leaking state secrets. A virtual news blackout about SARS thus continued well into February.

On February 11, Guangdong health officials finally broke the silence by holding press conferences about the disease.

From then on, information about the disease was reported to the public through the news media. Yet in the meantime, the government played down the risk of the illness. Guangzhou city government on February 11 went so far as to announce the illness was “comprehensively” under effective control. As a result, while the panic was temporarily allayed, the public also lost vigilance about the disease. When some reports began to question the government’s handling of the outbreak, the provincial propaganda bureau again halted reporting on the disease on February 23. This news blackout continued during the run-up to the National People’s Congress in March, and government authorities shared little information with the World Health Organization until early April.

In fact, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention did not issue a nationwide bulletin to hospitals on how to prevent the ailment from spreading until April 3, and it was not until mid-April that the government formally listed SARS as a disease to be closely monitored and reported on a daily basis under the Law of Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

[T]here is no doubt that [CCP] government inaction paralleled by the absence of an effective response to the initial outbreak resulted in a crisis.

On May 12, the very same day that Premier Wen Jiabao released the new regulations to promote openness, the Beijing Morning News carried an article on how people who spread “rumors” about SARS could be jailed for up to 5 years.

You will have noted a few minor discrepancies in this account from our current situation. Locations, precise dates, leadership names. That’s because this 2004 article describes events that took place during the SARS outbreak in 2003. The players change, but the game remains the same.

Given the CCP’s track record, the World Health Organization’s deference regarding the 2019 virus is unconscionable. If you read the whole article, you’ll likely come away with the impression it was better handled in 2003.

Stop it!

Harvard researchers say social distancing may be needed into 2022
Detailed models suggest the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could resurge as late as 2024.

The worst secondary effect of the CCP virus pandemic is the press coverage. CNET should be ashamed and so should Harvard. The idea that CCP virus will come back is intuitively obvious, but the article hawks it as unexpected.

A couple of snippets that tell you the model and the article were unnecessary:

[S]ome social distancing methods, like avoiding hugs and handshakes, could persist beyond the end of the pandemic

“The authors are aware that prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, is likely to have profoundly negative economic, social and educational consequences,”

Maintaining ‘no hugs nor handshakes’ would surprise precisely no one as a natural public response.

This behavior will not be intermittent, it’s going to be a fact of life, like more hand-washing. The lack of “hugs and handshakes” will not have “profound” effects. If they’d mentioned the six feet distancing rule, they might have made a case for “irritating effects.”

Harvard bases this on a “detailed model.” OOOh! Models. Harvard. Scientists. Changes in public behavior after a world historical pandemic. Run!

The CCP virus modeling has been wildly wrong – as bad as CAGW models. They specify 2024. Because putting a number on it makes the model seem more precise and insightful, but it is a WAG generated by a spreadsheet. Why not 2028 and 2035? People wouldn’t worry so much, and wouldn’t click on it.

A 2024 resurgence would be tempered by a vaccine, likely by effective drug treatment, likely (and sadly) acceptance of cell-phone-based contact tracing apps by those who care nothing for privacy, and by handy, 5 minute, inexpensive self-testing kits available at CVS and Walmart. If the FDA gets out of the way.

I question whether they factored those changes into their model. If they did, I’d call BS on the values they used.

To help determine the way forward, the researchers say a better understanding of immunity to the virus is key, as is epidemiological surveillance of the disease, which can be done through widespread testing and contact tracing.

They had to have a model to reach that insipid conclusion? While admitting the key element of their model, immunity, is not understood?

A plea for funding, and a quest for clicks.