The rapid spread of the coronavirus has triggered several world governments to step up and take radical actions. From multiple statewide and national lockdown, the world was united against a single cause for the first time in a long time.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 , countries like China, Korea, India, and the US were making sure that all their citizens follow the protocols of social distancing and stay inside their homes. Russia on its part was toying with newer forms of surveillance, which may not be wholly popular amongst its people at the moment.
Nizhny Novgorod, the administrative capital of Volga Federal District recently added the feature of QR code-based tracking for its citizens within the region. The region sits 250 miles northeast of Moscow and decided to implement the latest system to keep a better watch on society’s behavior during these pressing times.
These downloadable QR codes represent each individual whose information is stored in a state-protected server. Information from this will be used to ensure they maintain decorum and practice state rules.
The practice would have faced more backlash if Russia had accepted the new framework too, but surprisingly it has deferred on such an intense measure for now. Officials from the country’s capital said that the current setup was working just fine within area territories. Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor added that the decision to integrate QR codes was something that would raise a lot of questions on a national scale.
His comments came at a time when the country was seeing opposition in regions where hardcore surveillance measures were taken. Daria Besedina, a Moscow opposition lawmaker addressed the issue of citizens tracking and pointed out its flaws. He compared the system to a concentration camp where citizens’ information may be used for the states’ own purposes.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s premier was careful to ensure a balance between surveillance and listening to the needs of the people. He has stayed away from making state-run tracking favored by other authoritarian nations amid the current pandemic. Some of his supporters claim that he was considering all the options to establish a proper layout after the crisis is over as well.
During a recent television broadcast, Putin addressed the nation and stated that responsibilities will be on the individual states to protect their people. That message has, in turn, resulted in most states increasing surveillance at their whim while at the same time protecting Moscow from any negative press.
At the moment, Russia has 4731 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. This is still far lesser than the numbers in regions such as the US or Italy. The US particularly has been witnessing a disastrous administrative collapse while handling the spread of the pandemic. Donald Trump has been blasted as remaining aloof for the most part about the virus and sometimes promising untested chemicals as coronavirus ‘cures’.