New Norm And Thoughts After COVID19 MCO

Day 6 of Phase 4 Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, the restriction is loosened by government due to pressure of huge economics lost per day, many sectors are allowed to resume Business by following the SOP from 4/5/2020 onwards. The virus is still existing, we can’t see it and the vaccine is not yet ready. Work from home becomes a new norm, moving business online becomes urgent for most Small and Medium Enterprise, digital marketing or O2O courses ads are everywhere, medical equipment manufacturers and food delivery are among the few who still operate without major interruption.

Many business transformations require some time, whereas MCO can’t be the only option throughout 2020. No news about the extension of Phase 4 MCO which ends on 12/5/2020, but to live with the virus until everyone is vaccinated or a cure is found becomes new practice that everyone has to get used to. A new cautious lifestyle, social distancing, frequent disinfection, avoid gathering etc, the new norm, will be adapted for coming months.

Dine in is now allowed with conditions that contact number and name being recorded. Customers worry about their privacy, business owners concerned about the Personal Data Protection Act. A general draft of the applicable act should be ready for the business owner to endorse and clear the doubt of the customer. At least the question such as how to keep the data and how long to keep, who can access it etc. are clearly explained.

As an effort to aid contact tracing, mobile applications such as mySejahtera and myTrace are developed. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin assured that data collected through MyTrace would be anonymised and kept on the user’s phone for 21 days. Geo-location data would not be traced or collected. Once a user is tested positive, the Ministry of Health will contact those close contacts recorded in the user’s myTrace apps via bluetooth.

When awareness on privacy matters become higher in the past few years, users receive notification to review the Privacy Policy and Privacy Setting, by doing so, you acknowledge and give consent that your data to be collected and stored or even shared to a third party. For instance, Google Map Timeline, you can turn off the Location history, but for better suggestions of places to visit, historical data can train and improve the model. These data are actually very powerful for contact tracing. Google will share personal information outside of Google if they have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation, or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or enforceable governmental request. Do we have a law in place that enables the government to request such data? Do not pay attention to any analytics released by Google on COVID19, if there is any, please leave a comment below.

Health Promotion Board of Singapore has launched National Steps Season 5 (26/10/2019-30/04/2020) where Singaporean and Permanent Citizen can receive a HPB fitness tracker which can connect to Healthy 365 mobile apps. The tracker is like a fitbit band where steps, distance, pace and heart rate are tracked, if not mistaken temperature can’t be tracked, not sure about the GPS. I discovered this when I participated in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon last year. I borrowed it, wore it and ran with it for light training prior to the race. Opps, this is wrong practice, i pollute the data of the owner. How many users are taking this seriously, wear it consistently and charge it (where data collection is pause) at a regular pattern? This campaign is a great initiative to create a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, in the midst of COVID19, the functionality of tracker can be improved to achieve public health surveillance.

Looking at the purpose of tracking, at the cost of sharing some Personal Identifiable Information, Yuval Noah Harari, the writer of A Brief History of Sapien, had written an interesting article, the world after coronavirus, which pointed out a downside of this. The article started with “This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come”. The choices to choose privacy or health and between nationalist isolation or global solidarity. It is an article that discusses the COVID19 pandemic from a perspective that I had never thought of. I would like to highlight a paragraph that provokes my thoughts.

“The downside is, of course, that this would give legitimacy to a terrifying new surveillance system. … … But if you can monitor what happens to my body temperature, blood pressure and heart-rate as I watch the video clip, you can learn what makes me laugh, what makes me cry, and what makes me really, really angry.”

I am not expressing any political view here, but everything has its pros and cons. The only limit is your imagination. Stay safe, stay at home.

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