Plurality of Brits Support Govt Phone Surveillance to Enforce Lockdown: Poll

Police take details as a man holding a placard that reads "love conquers fear" attends an anti-coronavirus lockdown demonstration in Hyde Park in London on May 16, 2020, following an easing of lockdown rules in England during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Fliers advertising 'mass gatherings' organised by the …
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Nearly half of Britons are in favour of government surveillance on people’s phones in order to enforce lockdown measures during a pandemic, a poll has found.

In a survey conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, which tracks opinions in 25 countries, 45 per cent of the British public were found to be in favour of expanding the spying powers of the government to clamp down on those who violate lockdown restrictions.

The poll asked respondents if they were in favour of “The Government in [country name] using the mobile phone data of individuals to ensure they are complying with restrictions on movement outside of the home during a lockdown.”

Only 42 per cent of those polled said they would be against the implementation of an Orwellian coronavirus surveillance state.

Australians were even more in favour of handing over power to the state, with 62 per cent of those polled saying they would support lockdown spying, compared to just 29 per cent who opposed the measure.

Brits were also overwhelmingly in favour of the government banning handshakes, with 76 per cent of the public backing the seemingly unenforceable measure, with just 13 per cent against the notion.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down quarantine-free travel, government officials have reportedly been tasked with the creation of quarantine hotels.

The facilities will be used in conjunction with GPS and facial-recognition technology in order to ensure that those arriving in the country abide by the isolation requirements, according to The Sunday Times.

Civil servants are also reportedly looking into developing a scheme based on the “enhanced monitoring” system in Poland, in which people are required to send a selfie of themselves to the government from their mandated location.

The system then cross-references GPS and facial recognition to determine the picture’s veracity. If the picture is found to be fraudulent or the person fails to send the evidence of their quarantine within 20 minutes of being contacted by their handler, the police will be sent in.

A senior government source told the paper that the measures are currently only being considered for new arrivals to the country and not for those who already within the UK.

During the pandemic, polls have consistently found that the British public is in favour of increasing government powers, with many Brits reporting that they were afraid of leaving their homes and in favour of stricter lockdown measures.

Last week, a separate poll from YouGov found that 46 per cent of the public believe that police should take a harder line in cracking down on those allegedly violating the lockdown, despite police handing out nearly 45,000 fines for supposed breaches last year.

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