Ripples, N.B. — John Smith, who is, without question, the world’s most boring man, has been losing sleep at night worrying about digital contact tracing, which may soon be widely used to help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
We interrupted Smith’s nightly viewing of Jeopardy to speak with him about his concerns.
“I don’t know a whole lot about contact tracing,” admitted Smith from the comfort of his well-worn La-Z-Boy in his average-looking split-level bungalow, “but I heard about it on the CBC. Apparently they’re gonna start making apps for your smartphones that can detect everywhere you’ve been and who you’ve been around. Well, that’s got me real worried, I tell ya. The government’s slowly taking control of our lives, finding out personal details and using that information for god-knows-what. It’s not right!”
Smith took a sip of his Ovaltine and continued:
“I mean, do I really want the government knowing every time I head into town for a Giant Tiger run? Or each time I grab a cup o’ Timmies at the drive-thru? That’s none of their business! What if I go lookin’ for fiddleheads? Or say I head out for my evening stroll — will the government know that too? Just imagine what they could do with that information! These are the end times, I tell ya. Just like the Bible predicted.”
Smith’s wife Sally, who is hands-down the world’s most boring woman, was also concerned about contact tracing.
“I mean, I have a really busy social life, or at least I did before the coronavirus. On Tuesdays I have quilting club with the ladies up at Verma’s place. On Wednesdays, I play bridge and I always make an onion dip for that. On Fridays, if it’s nice out, I go for a stroll with my husband.
“Of course Sundays, it’s church. And in the summer John and I will go for a nice afternoon drive on the weekend if it’s sunny out. I mean, just imagine if the government got a hold of all this information! Knowing all our whereabouts and who we’ve been around and whatnot. Who knows what they might do with that knowledge!”
Although policy-makers acknowledge that there are privacy concerns associated with contact tracing, many argue that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks, and data would be kept completely anonymous.
“Honestly, New Brunswick has done so well at containing the virus thus far,” stated Premier Blaine Higgs. “We need to do whatever it takes to ensure we don’t get a second-wave. If contact tracing technology become available, we’ll work closely with both our tech and public health sectors to ensure these apps are being leveraged properly.”
Not realizing he was still on the line, Higgs was heard asking his wife, “Marcia, the app wouldn’t record every time I, um, I mean ‘a friend’ drove by someone’s house, would it? Like say if ‘a friend’ drove by Brian Gallant’s house every day just to see what a cool guy like that was up to? Gosh, I sure hope not.”