The panic reaction to the pandemic, that resulted in most of the world being placed in lock-down, by-passed Constitutional protections so easily it was stunning. Now comes House bill H.R. 6666 (the TRACE Act); which by-passes due process in order to “stop the spread” of a virus that is mainly dangerous to people with significant health issues.
The bill gives funding to, the vaguely defined, “eligible entities” to conduct testing for COVID-19. How these tests will be administered is left open. Once the entity locates someone with the virus they are then to “contact trace” and locate anyone who had contact with the infected person. The entity is then empowered to “support the quarantine” of the identified contacts.
How the mobile health units are supposed to support the quarantine is left up to the administrator’s imagination.
The wide range of potential for abuses of such a process is straight out of a science fiction novel. The source article discusses how all types of organizations with an ax to grind could be given the power to quarantine whom every they choose. Even without any malicious intent it isn’t hard to imagine individuals who’s “contact trace” could include very large numbers of people. For example if the “infected” person was a mailman – their entire postal route would then be under house arrest; with no due process. If the “infected” person collected tickets for a major sporting event, tens of thousands of people would have to suddenly stop their life; with no recourse. Imagine if the “infected” person was found to be a key individual in a political campaign just before an election. An entire campaign and a significant number of their supporters would be taken out of circulation; at a crucial point in time. Now try and imagine a political partisan not attempting to set up such a scenario.
Consider that Apple and Google are already working in “close cooperation and collaboration with… governments, and public health providers” in order to track down people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. They are doing this through “the use of Bluetooth technology” on most people’s smartphones. More important, they are doing this without your knowledge or your explicit consent.
Reading about the TRACE Act puts a knot in the pit of my stomach. Given the apathy and out right encouragement of the loss of our liberties, in the numerous statewide lock-downs, it’s hard not to be afraid of the power to quarantine being used to undermine our country as founded.