Opening the Overton Window

The image below represents the comparison of permissions asked by the Swiss contact tracing app, Facebook and Whatsapp. Here is underlined the very few permissions asked by contact tracing app and the two “social networks”.

So the question: “If you allow Whatsapp and Facebook, more privacy invasive, why not SwissCovid”?

In our opinion everyone has the right to install what he / she want on his handy and nobody has the right to compel us to install whatever. Governments can raise awareness about the use of a contact tracing to fight a virus but not dictate such use.

Now we want to suggest you a mind path, providing you some clues and let you imagine how to join the dots.

The first dot is called “Overton Window”

The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. According to Overton, the window frames the range of policies that a politician can recommend without appearing too extreme to gain or keep public office given the climate of public opinion at that time.

(Yes, we copy-pasted from Wikipedia, but we don’t like to reinvent the wheel.)

The second dot is called “Social Credit System” (SCS for short): Made in China – In few words collect as much possible informations about the citizens behavior to allow them the access to public services and benefits; if you comply what the system requires, you are ok, otherwise you loose the right to travel, to study or to have a sentimental life; but you gain the public showing of your face on buildings or before any movie begins. Note that SCS keep also track of people you meet: What if you meet banned people?

Finally, contact tracing app can be the first, apparently harmless, brick to build our SCS. As usual the keyword is “voluntary”. What if tomorrow, with the Overton Window open, the contact tracing app can be recycled to “prevent kidnapping” or “help finding missing people”?

One more thing

Always from Wikipedia – “Comparison to other countries”

Germany: In February 2018, Handelsblatt Global reported that Germany may be “sleep walking” towards a system comparable to China’s. Using data from the universal credit rating system, Schufa, geolocation and health records to determine access to credit and health insurance.

United Kingdom: In 2018, the New Economics Foundation compared the Chinese citizen score to other rating systems in the United Kingdom. These included using data from a citizen’s credit score, phone usage, rent payment, etc. to filter job applications, determine access to social services, determine advertisements served, etc.

In 1982, when I was 11, for the first time I’ve seen live a computer. It was an IBM/360; in 1983, for the first time in my life, I’ve turned on my own computer. In 1985 on my desk appeared a mouse and a box with some 5” 1/4 floppy disk. Now I’m about 50; every morning I open the lid of my MacBook Pro, that is n times powerful, faster and smaller than the IBM/360, the VIC-20 and the Apple //c together. But nothing can overcome the emotion I felt entering that noisy machine room, of writing on such ridicolous, small screen and of smelling the plastic of my earlier, outdated, mass memory supports.