China Plans to Use Coronavirus App to Track how Much its Citizens Sleep, Drink, and Smoke

Source: Wikipedia

Chinese officials came with a proposal for making a coronavirus tracking app that will show how much people smoke, drink, exercise, and sleep.

The app which was proposed by the eastern China city of Hangzhou will work in a color-coded score between 0 and 100. Hangzhou officials want to make the app a permanent fixture for the residents of the city.

According to an investigation by the New York Times, the health data collected by the app was being shared with local police officials without the users’ permission.

Several app screenshots posted online show a spectrum of color-coded health status scores which would be calculated by taking into account medical records and physical examinations, as well as lifestyle factors.

These lifestyle factors include exercise, drinking, smoking, and sleep quality – though it is not clear how the app would collect such information or whether the app would be mandatory, Vice reported.

The residents of Hangzhou disapprove of the app as some of them posted their opinion online.

“Once power is unleashed, it is difficult to retract. Once we give up our rights under special circumstances, it’s hard to get them back,’’ one Weibo user wrote on Monday.

“There should be a line between personal health and public health. Other people should not have the right to see personal health reports,’’ another post which had 4,200 likes said.

An assistant professor of politics and international relations at Queen’s University Belfast named Chenchen Zhang compared the app with something similar from the sci-fi series “Black Mirror,’’ adding that the online criticism could mean other cities may reconsider proposing similar projects.

“Hangzhou health code is getting extremely black mirror-esque. So far the standard HC only shows green/red/yellow. This pilot program (not run yet) will give everyone a health ‘’score’’ based on medical record and lifestyle,’’ said Zhang.

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