Coronavirus Monitoring Bracelets Flood the Market, Ready to Snitch on People Who Don’t Distance

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The Intercept

Surveillance firms around the world are licking their lips at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cash in on the coronavirus by repositioning one of their most invasive products: the tracking bracelet. Body monitors are associated with criminality and guilt in the popular imagination, the accessories of Wall Street crooks under house arrest and menace-to-society parolees. Unlike smartphones, de facto tracking devices in their own right, strapped-on trackers are expressly designed to be attached to the body and exist solely to report the user’s whereabouts and interactions to one or more third parties; they don’t play podcasts or tell you how many steps you took that day to sweeten the surveillance. But a climate of perpetual bio-anxiety has paved the way for broader acceptance of carceral technologies, with a wave of companies trying to sell tracking accessories to business owners eager to reopen under the aegis of responsible social distancing and to governments hoping to keep a closer eye on people under quarantine.

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