As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the market for cameras with the ability to detect people with fevers is skyrocketing. More than 10 security companies in the U.S., Europe and China are marketing technologies capable of picking out who in a crowd may have a fever, and thus, COVID-19.
But, this technology could clearly do more harm than good…
And provide a false sense of security, while invading our privacy at the same time. You see, measuring metabolic function collects a huge amount of very personal data. Data these companies could use – or turn around and sell – once the pandemic is over.
The major driver of all of this is, of course, market demand. Companies around the world are actively pitching their infrared cameras to police departments, government agencies, schools, hospitals and private businesses.
But, thermal imaging is not a perfect method for scanning crowds. For one thing, it doesn’t measure inner-body temperature. For another, there are many reasons a person’s temperature can elevate, including:
The time of day… their stress levels… the amount of caffeine they’ve ingested… and even their hormone cycle. On top of that, many times COVID-19 doesn’t produce any symptoms at all.
“The big problem is that not everyone develops a fever. The vast majority of cases are mild to moderate,” according to Dr. Joseph Fair, a virologist and epidemiologist.
Imagine showing up to your grandchild’s graduation and being told you cannot attend because the camera said you had a “fever” – even though you’re fine. Not good.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped companies and governments from buying them. In fact, thermal cameras are being used to scan crowds in airports around the world…
Places like Hungary, Turkey, Mexico, Singapore, Jamaica and Abu Dhabi. The bottom line is, capturing your metabolic data is a severe invasion of our privacy.
And, what about when the virus is under control? Will the governments and companies using these thermal cameras remove them after a vaccine is created?
Or will they continue to use these cameras to gather information on the public…
Information that could be used to say, exclude them from traveling, shopping, leaving their home, etc. until they “fall in line?” Be wary.