US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The Moscow coronavirus infection tracking system resembles George Orwell’s 1984 classic. In this work, the state actively monitors the lives of citizens with the help of technology.
This is how control is now exercised. If a Muscovite with coronavirus symptoms does not register in the application within a day after signing the documents, does not send a photo within an hour after notification, or “deviates from the address where he observes self-isolation,” the violation will be reported to the Main Control Department of the city of Moscow.
If the patient refuses to install the application on the phone, then the first three days he will receive sms messages, and then the first penalty will be issued – about 50 euros.
Moscow authorities are using the new application to monitor how Muscovites spreading the virus observe self-isolation. The application tracks the location of citizens with symptoms of coronavirus and SARS, as well as people who have contacted them.
According to officials, the application “allows” citizens with mild symptoms of infection to get sick at home, but at the same time obliges them to regularly report their whereabouts.
Access to geolocation, regular photos
When installing the application, you need to give permission to access geolocation and use the camera. After these actions, the application receives data on the user’s location automatically. The application regularly sends notifications to the patient with a request to take a picture of themselves on the phone against the background of a home interior.
The forced use of the application has caused a lot of criticism: many people think that it brings Russia closer to the police state.
Developed in a short time, the application wrote a lot of fines by mistake. To cancel the penalty, the patient must respond quickly and provide a lot of documents. The news channel “Present” reports that one woman mistakenly received more than 20 fines.
Human Rights Watch believes that tracking patients with the app violates human rights. Representatives of the organization say that the application has issued unfair sentences for hundreds or even thousands of Muscovites.
The organization for the protection of human rights warns: Muscovites with symptoms of infection may be afraid of fines or features of the application and not go to the doctor or refuse a test for the detection of the virus. This is dangerous both for people with the symptoms of the virus and for their loved ones.
In addition, the application recorded technical problems.
The application does not work well
At first, the application required to send a selfie at night when people were sleeping. Now the application requires Muscovites to take photos between nine in the morning and ten in the evening.
A fine is issued if a person leaves the apartment further than 50 meters. Indoor GPS does not always work accurately, and sometimes it leads to unfair fines.
The application often crashes.
Eduard Lysenko, head of the Moscow City Information Technology Department, admits that the application needs to be further developed. According to him, the feedback from users is very helpful for the developers.
The city receives millions of euros
The Russian press reports numerous unreasonable fines, the amount of which reaches hundreds of euros. The newspaper Kommersant wrote about people who received heavy fines. According to some estimates, Moscow “earned” 2.8 million euros in fines.
Users of the application call it “mockery of the sick.” In social networks, even relevant groups have appeared. So, on Facebook you can find the Russian-language group “Fined for getting sick.”
Moscow also has digital city passes that can be obtained on the Internet. The user is registered on the state website and receives his own code, which authorities can check on him on the street.
“Statistics show that every day thousands of such patients or those in contact with them try to obtain a digital pass to travel around the city. Each of them can infect several people in a short time, ”Lysenko said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper.
Social Monitoring Application
Muscovites with symptoms of coronavirus and SARS should install and use the Social Monitoring mobile application. The application must be used by more than 60 thousand Muscovites.
Through the application, more than 54 thousand fines were issued.
About 30% of app users received fines. Many received more than one fine.
Some fines reach 50 euros. Since the launch of the application, fines have been issued for a total of 2.8 million euros.
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