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Multiple Australian states have begun testing Orwellian apps that would force quarantined Aussies to upload selfies to prove that they’re actually quarantining.
Designed for people forced to quarantine after traveling, the apps function by sending notifications to quarantined Australians at “random times” asking that they upload a selfie of themselves, according to Victoria Health Minister Martin Foley.
Foley announced Victoria’s own app trial on Sept. 28th.
“Participants will receive advice via the smartphone as to their obligation at random times to provide a selfie back to the public health teams. Should that not be responded to in a period of time, follow-up calls or visits are made so as to make sure that the person is where they should be,” he said.
Roughly 175 people are participating in the trial. Once notified, they’ll have only five minutes to comply.
According to InnovationAus, an Australian magazine covering government policy, this is “a significantly shorter window than similar apps in other states.”
“South Australia has been conducting its own pilot using its Home Quarantine SA app, with users contacted at random by the app and required to provide proof of their location via a selfie within 15 minutes. If this isn’t done, then the user will receive a phone call from the health department and then potentially a check from the police,” the magazine notes.
Victoria’s especially draconian restriction has piqued the public’s attention thanks to the following news report produced by Nine News:
Wait what?! #AustraliaHasFallen pic.twitter.com/5HSfDorddo
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) October 5, 2021
“Today the call has gone out to everyone in home quarantine in Victoria to take part of a pilot program,” a Nine News reporter happily announces in the clip above.
“And what that means is they will receive random phone calls and they will have to answer within five minutes with a selfie sent to this app which will then geo-track where that person is and to make sure they are who they say they are as well. If they don’t answer within the five minutes, that’s when health officers come knocking,” she adds.
According to the public, this sounds extraordinarily Orwellian.
Look (*Language warning):
“Health officers” holy shit that’s Orwellian
— J3diNinja (@J3diNinja) October 5, 2021
I think we can all agree that a more fitting name would be ‘health commissars’.
— Wild Thought 👁️👄👁️ (@WildThought7) October 5, 2021
Big Brother is watching. Holy shit. This is inhumane.
— Tweeter The Great (@TweeterTheGreat) October 5, 2021
Yeah this is getting absolutely nutty. When are they officially opening the detention camps?
— Bob Bacon (@BobBacon666) October 5, 2021
They aren’t testing the program.
They are testing the peoples compliance.
— Black Star Ω (@DarkStarKaz) October 5, 2021
This is like being in a very abusive relationship with someone who has trust issues.
— John Wilson Yalda (@YaldaJohn) October 5, 2021
If I live in Australia, I have to use my phone to take a picture of myself in my home? Yeah, that would be a no from me.
Besides the overt abuse of power, how could this be a good idea? What if I’m exercising? Cooking dinner? Napping? Having sex with my wife? Showering?
— Brian (@_no_name_found_) October 5, 2021
There will come a time when the Australian people will say enough is enough. God pity those people responsible for the Orwellian lockdowns that destroyed the people’s civil liberties. Remember what they did to Mussolini.
— MrMario (@Mrmario1) October 5, 2021
However, some have defended the policy by noting that it’s designed specifically for incoming travelers to quarantine at home rather than a hotel.
The context is Aus is trying to make it possible to do quarantine at home instead of at a supervised hotel or quarantine facility. The phone app is a way of making sure you are at home, not the pub during their quarantine period.
— brickinwall (@brickinwall) October 5, 2021
But this argument doesn’t seem very compelling to critics.
This didn’t make it better. Sorry.
— Jonas Ohlsson (@OhlssonThe) October 6, 2021
Oh the government is trying their best to not round you up and put you in a camp. Good for them.
— Harold Christian (@Cchris12) October 6, 2021
You can’t have a nap in Australia without fear of police kicking down your door.
— Dylan (@DPTF__) October 6, 2021
That’s what they tell you but it’s for a bigger agenda.
— Alex The Great 🇵🇦🇵🇦🇵🇦 (@chiefs1336) October 6, 2021
You think they’ll end that program after Covid? This is a foot in the door to the surveillance state. “Never let a crisis go to waste”.
That’s the real context/excuse.
— Blackbirdearth (@NoneOfy88049470) October 6, 2021
Regarding the claim that this is part of “a bigger agenda,” Australia does have a history of imposing totalitarian-esque policies on its citizens.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, Australia has closed off all international travel, suspended parliament, deployed the military to enforce lockdowns, told locals to avoid all human contact, banned protests and granted law enforcement agencies virtually unlimited surveillance powers.
‘Literal evil dystopia nightmare fuel’: Australia’s onslaught of intrusive, freedom-stifling restrictions grows https://t.co/FDTypJTOa5 pic.twitter.com/zTig8QaBfU
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 3, 2021
It’s “literal evil dystopia nightmare fuel,” some say, and judging from the latest developments, it’s only getting worse …
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