By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent $420,000 to buy location data from tens of millions of Americans’ phones to track them, Vice reported.
The CDC bought the location data to “perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation,” according to Vice. The government agency also used the data bought because of Covid-19 for general CDC purposes.
SafeGraph, a controversial data broker, sold the data to the CDC. The information was aggregated location data, but some researchers claim that data can be deanonymized and used to track specific people.
Motherboard, a Vice division, obtained documents regarding the use of this data from a Freedom of Information request to the CDC.
The CDC claimed it used the data for monitoring curfews and tracked visits to pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.
In truth, documents revealed that it established 21 “potential CDC use cases for data,” Vice reported.
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These use cases include tracking visits to K-12 schools, the correlation between mobility patterns data and Covid-19 cases, and the effectiveness of public policy on the Navajo Nation, according to Vice.
The CDC requested the expedited purchase of this data because of Covid-19.
However, many cases that the CDC created have nothing to do with covid, like “Research points of interest for physical activity and chronic disease prevention such as visits to parks, gyms, or weight management businesses.”
The CDC admitted in the document that there were plenty of non-Covid-19 uses for this data, stating, “The mobility data obtained under this contract will be available for CDC agency-wide use and will support numerous CDC priorities.”
The CDC shouldn’t use tax dollars to surveil U.S. citizens.
Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.
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