Govt tracking cell phones to enforce quarantines

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Govt Tracking Cell Phones to Enforce Quarantines; But There’s a Better Way For U.S. to Help Insure Compliance

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Israel Begins Tracking Cell Phones

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 17, 2020) - Israel has begun tracking cell phones to - according to new regulations - help enforce quarantine orders.

But there are better and simpler ways to help enforce quarantines, and ones which we should at least consider using here in the U.S., says professor John Banzhaf.

Banzhaf is an MIT-educated inventor who has also researched ways to help insure that illegal aliens in the U.S. show up for their scheduled hearings.

Persons subject to a quarantine order can easily evade cell phone tracking - of the type now being used in Israel - by leaving their cell phones behind when they go out, or even more simply by turning them off, notes Banzhaf.

Having police or health workers come to the homes of those quarantined for frequent daily checks - a technique which is sometime used in the U.S. - obviously becomes prohibitively expensive as the number subject to quarantine soar, and it also unnecessarily exposes the workers to risks of the virus.

In stark contrast, GPS monitoring ankle bracelets are already in wide and successful use to keep tabs on illegal immigrants.

Protecting The Lives Of Others

Since most people would probably agree that preventing a potential coronavirus carrier, the subject of a quarantine, from risking the lives of others in public places is at least as important as insuring that immigrants show up for legal proceedings, these same devises could be used in appropriate cases to insure compliance with medical quarantines, suggests Banzhaf.

Indeed, many such devices already now in use - or being held for use - to track accused illegal immigrants might even be diverted to monitoring the location of known, suspected, or potential coronavirus carriers.

Using tracking ankle bracelets is obviously far less expensive and more effective for helping to enforce quarantines than either cell phone tracking or home visits, but the cost is not insignificant.

As an even better solution, inexpensive and readily available computer software can now determine with considerable accuracy the identity of a person from the sound of his voice on a telephone, or at least detect if the new voice matches a prerecorded one.

So, to help insure compliance with a quarantine order in any dwelling with a home telephone, a computer could easily be programmed to call the quarantined person at random times at his home telephone number several times each day, and ask him to repeat a sequence of random words (to insure that the voice it hears is not prerecorded) to be sure that he is remaining in his home.

A very similar verification process could be used by having the person quarantined similarly called from time to time on his cell phone, since a GPS-equipped cell phone can be located with great precision with simple monitoring/tracking programs.

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About the Author

JOHN F. BANZHAF
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf@law.gwu.edu

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