Mass Data Surveillance System to fight coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

This page describes Mass Data Surveillance System used to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in china. The benefits or advantages of Data Surveillance System and drawbacks or disadvantages of Data Surveillance System are also described.

COVID-19 is infectious disease caused by most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before its outbreak in Wuhan, China in december 2019. Coronaviruses are large family of viruses which may cause illness in humans or animals.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, fatigue and dry cough. Some patients may also have aches & pains, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, diarrhoea etc. Following are the usual methods to be followed at individual level and as community to stop its spread via local and community transmission.
• Wash hands at regular intervals of time
• Do not sneeze in public
• Don't touch your face, eyes and nose without washing your hands
• Maintain distance of atleast 6ft (1.8 m) with other people (called social distancing )
• If you feel sick stay home

Social distancing
Image courtesy : The Johns Hopkins University

As mentioned, Social distancing is aimed to reduce frequency of contact by increasing physical distance between persons. In social distancing one has to keep oneself atleast 6 feet away from other people in your household or in community.

Social distancing methods to control spread of contagious diseases such as COVID-19, Flu, Influenza include all of the following techniques.
• Self isolation
• Self quarantine
• School closure
• Workplace closure
• Cordon sanitaire
• Cancellation of mass gatherings at events, pubs, disco, theaters, clubs, religious places, musical concerts etc.

Data Surveillance system is essential to keep track on people whether social distancing is being followed by them or not. It is used by authorities to monitor movement of people, to enforce lockdown and to separate people based on their health status.

What is Data Surveillance System

Data surveillance system consists of various elements such as CCTV cameras, thermal cameras, robots, drones, GPS/GNSS based geofencing technology, AI based facial recognition system, text message transmission through cellular wireless systems and so on.

Data Surveillance System
Image courtesy : BBC News on

The image-1 and image-2 depicts the elements of the system such as robots to deliver food in hospitals, facial recognition cameras to take body temperatures and drones to enforce lockdowns and quarantine.

Methods of mass surveillance
Image courtesy : BBC News on

The image-3 depicts thermal camera from Dahua Technology. It is used to measure body temperatures of mass movement of people at airports, railway stations, hospitals, colleges, schools and work places.

Thermal camera to measure body temperature

The thermal imaging technology based products can easily be deployed to transportation hubs, complexes, banks and other places across the area to monitor body temperatures of the people.

The data surveillance system is used to track citizens online and offline. The system has recently become very effective in china to deal with Coronavirus pandemic. It is also used in other countries such as Singapore, Iran, Israel, Taiwan and Russia.

Let us understand working of data surveillance system. In order to have this system effective, all the citizens need to have unique "national ID". Moreover to buy mobile phone or to use any mobile app one need to provide "national ID". This data collections help while enforcing lockdown or curfews. The system is combination of human and automated computer analysis elements.

Health codes or QR codes

When an infected person travels on train, alert text messages are being sent out to his/her closest commuters through major apps. Moreover authories issues health cards with QR codes. All the individuals are divided into one of the three categories viz. no risk, been to potential hotspots and positive/contagious. no risk, These health cards are used by enforcement authorities during movement of people at various check points. During pandemic situation, citizens are requested to carry both national IDs as well as Health codes.

Benefits or advantages of Data Surveillance System

Following are the benefits or advantages of Data Surveillance System:
➨Drones and geofencing help in enforcing self isolation and self quarantine among people.
➨Robots help in delivering essential items such as food and water to infected people.
➨Surveillance cameras equipped with face recognition AI system allows authorities to track movement of infected people and also to enforce lockdown in affected areas.
➨Thermal cameras and thermal imaging systems help in measuring body temperature of people moving in and around at offices, airports and other public places.
➨The system can be installed quickly and it can be managed easily.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Data Surveillance System

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Data Surveillance System:
➨The privacy is the major concern while implementing such system.
➨It requires more time to make the system fully functional.
➨The cost is also major concern for authorities to install all the elements of the data acquisition system.

Google and Apple have developed Contact Tracing Technology >> to reduce Spread of COVID-19.

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