At a glance.
- Quarantine enforcement in West Australia.
- China's COVID-19 disinformation policy.
West Australia will install monitoring devices to keep track of those who don't comply with quarantine orders.
The State of West Australia enacted a law this week ("after very brief debate," the Register reports) that gives the state the authority to install monitoring devices in the dwellings of people placed under quarantine, or to compel such individuals to wear monitors. The measure applies only to people subject to quarantine, not to any or all citizens.
The Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 authorizes the State Emergency Coordinator to direct that "a person is to be subject to electronic monitoring while the person is in quarantine if satisfied that it is necessary to monitor the location of the person during the quarantine period." An authorized officer "may do any of the following — (a) direct the person to wear an approved electronic monitoring device; (b) direct the person to permit the installation of an approved electronic monitoring device at the place where the person resides or, if the person does not have a place of residence, at any other place specified by the officer; (c) give any other reasonable direction to the person necessary for the proper administration of the electronic monitoring of the person."
If you've been directed to have such a device keep tabs on you, you'll have to surrender the monitor to an authorized officer upon request, and you're also not permitted to remove or disable the device.
China has apparently been running a coordinated disinformation campaign about COVID-19.
Since an effective, proportionate response to a pandemic requires accurate information about the origin, transmission, and severity of the disease, disinformation under such conditions can have serious consequences. The US Intelligence Community last week delivered a classified study to the White House that concluded, according to Bloomberg, that “China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete.” Others have reached the same conclusion. Vice summarizes Beijing’s policy with respect to information about the coronavirus, and it finds a comprehensive program of censorship and disinformation directed at both domestic and international audiences. Stanford University’s Internet Observatory says that deliberate misdirection and obfuscation (false suggestion and suppression of truth) have been in progress since January.