How the coronavirus scare leads to irrational fear, which leads to victim blaming. Which then gets institutionalised as discrimination against those who get sick or might get sick. The German government is well on its way with its digital immunity passport, powered by erstwhile Nazi collaborators and blockchain quacks.
This week, on The Private Citizen, we are going to talk about the coronavirus situation again. And sadly, a great many of our predictions from last year are coming true.
The German Immunity Passport
The German government has given a contract to develop a digital vaccination passport to a blockchain startup from Cologne called Ubirch in collaboration with IBM.
I’ve explained why immunity passports are a very bad idea in episode 38. It’s hilarious that a blockchain startup is involved, because tante and me joked about this exact same thing in episode 16 of the show. One could say we predicted this all, almost a year ago.
Now, IBM is of course also a controversial choice. Seeing as they helped the Nazis organise mass murder on an unprecedented scale.
The app is supposed to comply with an upcoming German version of an upcoming EU law to enshrine immunity passports in law. The EU is planning to rush this law through the process and will publish a draft version next week.
This will clearly lead to discrimination of people who are not vaccinated and restrict their civil liberties. For very dubious reasons, as the vaccine companies themselves say in the documentation of the vaccines that they cannot say if the vaccine inhibits transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Therefore vaccination clearly is not a case of protecting others. I feel that this is a case of institutionalised victim blaming.
COVID-19 Victim Blaming
And speaking of victim blaming, I want to take this opportunity to discuss something that I’ve wanted to address for a while. And that is how the COVID-19 panic has led people to demonise getting sick. People, mislead by the media and the ludicrous idea that an extremely contagious respiratory virus can be stopped by acting in the right way, are now condemning suck people. And they themselves feel like they have done something very wrong if they get sick.
Can you imagine people would act like this about HIV? Just remember the backlash from progressive circles when some people in the ‘80s suggested only sexually deviant people got AIDS. Where is this outcry here? Let’s take a moment to discuss what we are doing here.
Long-time producer Fadi Mansour has some feedback on episode 58:
Sorry for lack of feedback for the latest episodes, but I have a problem: While listening, I might have some points to feedback, but usually I don’t have the time to write them down, and then later, I just forget the context, and not write anything. And this is what is happening now! So I’m now re-listening to the episode. Probably I should get into the habit of writing down notes to make it easier for myself.
The first point of feedback: Let me stress on the point you raised …the cat is out of the bag, because the technology is available, now we have a new situation, and we need to have this clearly set in our minds. Any data that is publicly available, we should assume that it’s being collected and correlated by someone. The only thing that I feel that we can do at the moment, is as you said, to be aware when we are “generating” this data, and to think about the implications.
Another point is the general rule of information security: know you “adversary”. Is it a company that is trying to sell you something? (you might be actually interested, or willing to get paid for your data), or an oppressive regime, that can use the data to incriminate you?
Another interesting point that you raised, when speaking about the decision to implement a tracking system to help the police: For any decision, there should be a cost-benefit calculation, and unfortunately, usually what happens is that the benefits are the only things being highlighted and not the compromise.
Finally, I noticed that I’m no longer subscribed to your channel on Twitch. I was using my free prime subscription and it seems that it needs renewal every now and then. It might be something to remind other similar subscribers. So, thank you for the interesting topics. I’m looking forward for the next episode!
If you have any thoughts on the things discussed in this or previous episodes, please feel free to contact me. In addition to the information listed there, we also have an experimental Matrix room for feedback. Try it out if you have an account on a Matrix server.
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