206. To QR or not QR, that is the question

The coronavirus outbreak and our society’s struggles to control it provide ample material for this literary endeavour. Last night, I became embroiled in a discussion about the draconian Chinese measures to control the outbreak. It was not long before QR codes, anonymity and personal freedoms were at the conversation’s centre. The narrative, you see, is that by using QR codes which locate us and check for infection exposure we relinquish our freedoms to an unacceptable level. That is, of course, a one sided view of freedom. Should my right to illusory anonymity, which I willingly surrender to major social media corporates, be defended in detriment of my neighbours’ freedom to leave their houses without fearing for their lives? We have, in the West, built altars to personal freedoms, whilst abandoning the civic duties which helped us overcome the great challenges of the past. From this viewpoint, we are decadent and, as one of my interlocutors put it, faced with this virus, cannon fodder 

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