Those who… Immune is mandatory

Those who… Immune is mandatory
The same mantra has been heard repeatedly since the summer, since Immuni was presented: on the one hand there are those who do not want it, frightened by the possible repercussions on a privacy raped every single day, but only and exclusively in defense. this circumstance; on the other (and not infrequently the two parts paradoxically overlap) it is argued that Immuni should be mandatory, a sort of national immunity passport useful for entering the soccer field, in the office, in public places and in any other situation one should be in contact with other people.

Those who… Immune mandatory

An example above all, only the last in chronological order, is in the words of Maurizio Casasco, president of the Federation Sports Physician and Independent Counselor of the Serie A League:

Having a checkup at 48 hours of the match does not ensure that the possible incubation time has passed. So the risk is that the Friday test cannot guarantee that on Sunday the subject cannot infect someone else. My suggestion is: unsanitary tests every 2 days and viral RNA swab 24 hours after the match. Waiting for those on saliva to be validated. We need to go ahead and raise our defenses: we have let our guard down, in the country and probably in football. In the meantime, I would make it mandatory for players to download the Immuni app: it would also be a good example for the whole country.

The temptation is undeniably strong: in the face of an unknown enemy, why not equip yourself with a harmless app, with a free and open code, tested on every front and admittedly free from any geolocation? But this question raises an equal and opposite one: if the app is so free from dangers, why did the authorities not make it mandatory, so as to rapidly extend its benefits nationwide without having to play every day with the swing of downloads, missing installations, bugs, non-cooperating regions, missing false positives and missing buffers?

The richness of Immuni is exactly in this aspect. If to promote it the Government appeals to cooperation and an ethical principle, it is precisely to protect a fundamental aspect of the project: voluntariness. Not only has the Government specified that the app should not be mandatory, but there cannot be any coercive behavior, in any form.

Another example is the comment by Maurizio Molinari, director of La Repubblica, according to which the Eastern model (South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and China) is the one to follow:

[...] the second wave of Covid 19 requires Europeans - and Italians - to follow the example of the Extreme Orient in acquiring logistics and technology that allow it to manage a high number of infected people in the long term without harming the national economic system too much. Adapting to the pandemic, also because we do not know how long the present one will last and we cannot exclude others in the future.

So far everything can be shared, but when it comes to advising the tracking of the infected and their movements, it is overcome with great nonchalance is a fundamental red line between protection and freedom. In the name of the economy (because this is the focus of a system that should not "harm the national economic system too much", decades of battles for freedom are sacrificed.

In an editorial which does not contain the words "rights", "privacy", "human rights" or "democracy", the director of

Published by Fabio Chiusi on Sunday 18 October 2020

The consequences of this approach, in fact, is in the words of the Honorable Vito Crimi, who in the same hours concretizes Molinari's proposals with his own proposal:

The usefulness of the Immuni app must be enhanced, making it mandatory for access to certain places or services and verifying that the entire health system is able to exploit its potential. And it is very important that all citizens download it and that local authorities and trade associations campaign to strengthen everyone's awareness of this instrument.

The other proposals of C rimi seem entirely common sense, aimed at restricting the field of situations in which the aggregation is spontaneous and uncontrollable, but in this framework of reasoning, a liberticidal proposal such as the mandatory nature of the app is set. A proposal that, without the appropriate countermeasures, would invoke sad omens.

Immuni is an indisputably interesting project from many points of view, both as regards this pandemic and in relation to the possibility of using tracking systems in the future for similar needs. Precisely the dichotomy between those who reject the app and those who would like to make it mandatory is one of the most interesting reflections for the future, as it digs at the root of our relationship with technology, our real understanding of the project and our ability to understand its instrumental role. in this emergency situation.

Why Immuni must remain optional

First of all, we need to start from very pragmatic reasons: the app does not make Immune, nor does it have to give an appearance. The app is not an "Immunity passport" (definition now clear to everyone), nor can it provide certainties. If anything, the obligation may concern distancing and masks, since with these elements it is possible to really fight the pandemic, while Immuni is nothing more than a piece of a complex tracking system, full of difficulties, but essential for tracing the chains of contagion. Immuni does not offer truth, but simply suggestions for those who should waste hours in an impossible search for risky contacts: it is the result of statistics and algorithms, not of tests and diagnoses, and this must be understood once and for all.

But that's not all.

A report by MIT Technology Review should sobering that in many states globally the pandemic has been used as a lever to increase surveillance of people, threatening their freedoms through more or less explicit systems. What many here call "health dictatorship" (let's face it: completely out of turn), elsewhere is a veiled reality that passes from tracking technologies, control of online discussions and more.

Freedom House in a further report has instead issued a series of useful prescriptions to keep the point of freedom firm especially in this 2020, to ensure that all populations can enjoy freedom of expression and movement: it is clear to everyone how small compromises on freedom cannot be compared with serious compromises in place in some countries, but at the same time a principle must always be safeguarded, without concessions to superficiality of any kind.

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in Internet freedom

Immuni could have been mandatory, it could have indicated which positive person was who caused the risk condition, it could also have anonymous mind geolocalize the smartphone and finally it could be used as a pass at every gate. But what would this be if not a formal, intrusive and unacceptable control? In what direction would a forced app go on everyone's smartphone? This is why the absolute protection of privacy and the safeguarding of personal freedom in the installation is essential. And that's why the only thing Immuni can appeal to is civic sense: that's exactly the scope within which the drive to download must be triggered. Not out of obligation, not out of forcing, not out of fear: out of a spirit of collaboration towards those same health authorities who applauded each other on the balconies during the lockdown.

Immuni's obligation would also have other repercussions that we even believe paradoxical: it would mean forcing everyone to have a new generation smartphone; it would mean obliging everyone to always have their smartphone in their pocket; it would mean having to check that everyone has Bluetooth on. But these aspects are so superficial that we wanted to isolate them at the bottom of the page, crumbs of a dish much richer in arguments.

Finally, in order not to lose the horizon of reality: Immuni is a tracking app that has specific purposes, known limits and potential not yet fully expressed. In light of all this, it was put in the hands of the Regions and ASL, which have control over the codes entered. Nothing in this process is validated in order to transform the app into a pass for any freedom. All Immuni can and must do is help the health authorities to carry out their work: any other superstructure represents a stretch, a violence, a deviation.

Of course, a political class that had been able to give good results. example would have been of great use. Of course, less controlled and more proactive journalism could have allowed us to be ahead of the times. Of course, we all could have done better and more. But this did not happen. Meanwhile, time has passed, precious, very fast. Until today, until new DPCMs, until the word “lockdown” is pronounced again without shame.

Is it late now?

The doubt exists. the virologist Andrea Crisanti has well expressed the idea that Immuni (as an element of a larger contact tracing project) may be able to give results especially in the first phase, when the numbers are reduced and a lot can be done to limit the infections. Yet, amid more or less legitimate doubts, Immuni has sailed in inertia and obstruction to date, finding himself now fighting in a field that is perhaps no longer his own. In an Italy not ready for the onslaught of swabs, Immuni would risk overflowing the camel's back: use it, exploit it, let the health authorities decide when it can be used and when to give priority to other types of investigation. But even on this we need a mea culpa: we had to give Immuni a chance and Immuni had to be able to prove that he deserved it. Now it's late, perhaps. And to this "perhaps" all that remains is to appeal with the utmost strength of good will, because to reverse the destinies of next Christmas all that remains is to apply, now, immediately, everyone.

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