The government of Karnataka wants hourly selfies from everyone placed under home quarantine, the state’s Medical Education Minister Dr K. Sudhakar confirmed to MediaNama. This is done through an Android app called Quarantine Watch, and defaulters could be shifted to “Govt created MASS QUARANTINE [sic]”, as per the press release. The Hindu first reported this.
Selfies are expected every hour, except “sleeping time from 10 PM to 7 AM”. With each selfie, the GPS coordinates of the quarantined person are sent to the government. Each selfie is “seen” by a Government Photo Verification Team to verify the selfie subject’s identity. Government Quarantine Check Teams, during house visits, can also use the app to take photos of the quarantined people.
This is not the first step that the government of Karnataka has taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, Sudhakar had announced that the state government would track phones of quarantined people. He confirmed to us today that the government is still tracking their phones.
On March 21, the state government had also directed local authorities to mandatorily stamp “the back of left palm of all the home quarantined passengers who have returned to the State, duly showing the date of end of the quarantine period”. Sudhakar told us that such stamping is being done these days as well. Local authorities “visit the homes of quarantined people” to stamp and monitor their compliance, he said. He also defended the state government’s decision to publish the home addresses of quarantined residents, arguing that their names had not been published.
Read how governments are using surveillance mechanisms to “contain” the COVID-19 pandemic here.