CDC Tracked Millions of Phones to See If Americans Followed COVID Lockdown Orders

CDC Tracked Millions of Phones to See If Americans Followed COVID Lockdown Orders

The documents reveal the expansive plan the CDC had last year to use location data from a highly controversial data broker. SafeGraph, the company the CDC paid $420,000 for access to one year of data, includes Peter Thiel and the former head of Saudi intelligence [Turki bin Faisal Al Saud] among its investors. Google banned the company from the Play Store in June.

The CDC used the data for monitoring curfews, with the documents saying that SafeGraph’s data “has been critical for ongoing response efforts, such as hourly monitoring of activity in curfew zones or detailed counts of visits to participating pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.” The documents date from 2021.

Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher who closely follows the data marketplace, told Motherboard in an online chat after reviewing the documents: “The CDC seems to have purposefully created an open-ended list of use cases, which included monitoring curfews, neighbor-to-neighbor visits, visits to churches, schools and pharmacies, and also a variety of analysis with this data specifically focused on ‘violence.’” (The document doesn’t stop at churches; it mentions “places of worship.”)

Related:

Data Broker Is Selling Location Data of People Who Visit Abortion Clinics

Location data broker SafeGraph stops selling information on visits to abortion providers

SafeGraph Provides CDC and 1000+ Organizations With Data to Fight the COVID-19 Crisis

Google Bans Location Data Firm Funded by Former Saudi Intelligence Head:

On its website SafeGraph says “We believe places data should be open for all.” In April 2017, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, the former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, invested in SafeGraph as part of a $16 million Series A funding round. SafeGraph said it had “assembled the deepest policy thinkers.” Beyond Faisal Al Saud, SafeGraph said it had enlisted the help of former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, author Sam Harris, Meghan O’Sullivan who ran Iraq and Afghanistan policy under President George Bush, former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama Mona Sutphen, and former German Minister of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, among others. Peter Thiel is also an investor in the company.

More investors: SafeGraph Raises $16 Million Series A

The C.D.C. will undergo a comprehensive re-evaluation, the agency’s director said.

The C.D.C. will undergo a comprehensive re-evaluation, the agency’s director said.

But the agency’s infrastructure was neglected for decades, like the nation’s public health system generally, and the pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges. Early on, the C.D.C. made key mistakes in testing and surveillance — for example, famously fumbling design of a diagnostic kit sent to state laboratories.

Officials were late to recommend masking, partly because agency scientists didn’t recognize quickly that the virus was airborne. In May of last year, Dr. Walensky announced that vaccinated people could take masks off indoors and outdoors; just weeks later, it became clear that vaccinated people could not only get breakthrough infections but also could transmit the virus.

In August, Dr. Walensky joined President Biden in supporting booster shots for all Americans, before scientists at the Food and Drug Administration or her own agency had reviewed the data on whether they were needed.

More recently, the highly contagious Omicron variant has led the C.D.C. to issue recommendations based on what once would have been considered insufficient evidence, amid growing public concern about how these guidelines affect the economy and education.

In December, the C.D.C. shortened the isolation period for infected Americans to five days, although it appears that many infected people can transmit the virus for longer. Over the past few weeks, some experts have criticized the agency for changing the metrics used to assess risk and determine appropriate local measures, in order to appease business and political interests.

New cold war neocolonialism: West threatens Solomon Islands over China alliance

The Solomon Islands, a sovereign country in the Pacific, broke ties with Taiwan and allied with China. So the US backed a failed violent coup attempt. Australia now calls the area its “backyard,” and media moguls demand an invasion to prevent the nation from signing a security pact with Beijing.

New cold war neocolonialism: West threatens Solomon Islands over China alliance

Previously:

US Torches Solomon Islands for Choosing China

US to reopen Solomon Islands embassy to counter Chinese influence

Why Many Progressives Misrepresented and Condemned the Ottawa Trucker Protest

Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” began with protesting rules implemented in January by the Canadian and later the US governments requiring truck drivers to be fully vaccinated to enter their country. It snowballed into a demonstration against dysfunctional coronavirus restrictions. The Ottawa trucker protesters demanded: No Lockdowns, No Mandates, No Vaccine Passports, and if not, that Trudeau resign.

Why Many Progressives Misrepresented and Condemned the Ottawa Trucker Protest

Rat Out Your Doctor: Biden’s Surgeon General Calls on Informants to Report Use of Generic Drugs

Rat Out Your Doctor: Biden’s Surgeon General Calls on Informants to Report Use of Generic Drugs

The purpose of the RFI is described as being to help the authorities understand the effect of pandemic “misinformation” on such areas as “health decisions and outcomes, direct and indirect costs, trust in the healthcare system and providers, and healthcare worker morale and safety. It is also intended to help them ascertain its impact on “access to trusted and credible health information, particularly during a public health emergency” and on “lifesaving health decisions such as an individual’s likelihood to vaccinate, and to “prepare for and respond to future public health crises.”

The RFI, which covers a period extending from January 2020 to the present, applies to general search engines, content sharing platforms, social media platforms, e-commerce platforms, crowd-sourced platforms, and instant messaging systems, and includes “research, case studies, data sets, images, data visualizations, interviews, and personal testimonies.”