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UK gov’t spied on citizens’ phones to monitor COVID-19 vaccine recipients: Report

Person using smartphone photo app. (PxHere/Released)
June 09, 2021

The British government has reportedly been spying on millions of its own citizens to monitor changes in behavior after Britons receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a report by a committee of government scientists viewed by The Telegraph on May 22, officials in the United Kingdom tracked nearly 10 percent of Britons’ phones in February without notifying or obtaining permission from the public.

The report noted that Oxford University researchers examined behavioral changes in vaccinated citizens via call data records “with corresponding location observations.” The researchers were able to determine that 4,254 individuals had received the vaccine based on “cell phone mobility data for 10 percent of the British population.”

The citizens were reportedly tracked every day in order to compare the week before and week after receiving the vaccine.

Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties advocacy group Big Brother Watch, called the report “chilling.”

“No one expects that by going to get a vaccine they will be tracked and monitored by their own Government. This is deeply chilling and could be extremely damaging to public trust in medical confidentiality,” Carlo said.

“Between looming COVID passports and vaccine phone surveillance, this Government is turning Britain into a Big Brother state under the cover of COVID,” he continued. “This should be a wake-up call to us all.”

Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the United States was reviewing a possible vaccine “passport” for travel abroad.

During an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Mayorkas was asked about creating the document for international travel.

“We’re taking a very close look at that,” he said. “One of our principles that has guided us throughout the pandemic is the value of diversity, equity and inclusion, and making sure that any passport we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised, and so we’re taking a very close look at that. There’s an underlying point here, of course, which is: Everyone should get vaccinated.”

While Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said the Biden administration has no intention of implementing federal vaccine documentation for travel, state lawmakers have take steps to ban the potential requirement.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order barring businesses from requiring customers to reveal their vaccination status.

“Businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,” the order states.