Asia's authoritarian governments are using “extreme measures and unchecked powers” to control populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from risk analysis group Verisk Maplecroft, The Guardian reports.
Asia is the highest-risk region for the firm’s Right to Privacy and Freedom of Opinion and Expression indices.
- In Pakistan, a “secretive militant-tracking surveillance system” is monitoring coronavirus patients.
- In Cambodia, citizens have been arrested for speaking out about government policies.
- In China, a tracking app designed to follow COVID-19 is being made permanent.
The findings raise big questions about how the COVID-19 data is being used, how long it's being stored, and if it’s being anonymized, said Verisk Maplecroft's Sofia Nazalya. She adds: "When we think about the use of data, there is always the danger that more authoritarian countries will use it for political ends.”