(OPINION) The Intercept – Surveillance firms around the world are licking their lips at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cash in on the coronavirus by repositioning one of their most invasive products: the tracking bracelet.


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Body monitors are associated with criminality and guilt in the popular imagination, the accessories of Wall Street crooks under house arrest, and menace-to-society parolees. Unlike smartphones, de facto tracking devices in their own right,

strapped-on trackers are expressly designed to be attached to the body and exist solely to report the user’s whereabouts and interactions to one or more third parties; they don’t play podcasts or tell you how many steps you took that day to sweeten the surveillance.

But a climate of perpetual bio-anxiety has paved the way for broader acceptance of carceral technologies, with a wave of companies trying to sell tracking accessories to business owners eager to reopen under the aegis of responsible social distancing and to governments hoping to keep a closer eye on people under quarantine.

Take AiRISTA Flow, a Maryland-based outfit that helps corporations track their “assets,” breathing or not. In an April 21 press release, the company announced it would begin selling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi trackers to be worn on an employee’s wrist like a Fitbit — or around their neck like a cowbell. READ MORE

An online news publication of First Look Media, owned by Pierre Omidyar. Its editors are Betsy Reed, Glenn Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill. It also publishes two podcasts, Intercepted hosted by Scahill and Deconstructed hosted by Mehdi Hasan