Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Researchers Using Smart Phones To Track Millions

                “Researchers” have discovered that Americans are now venturing out of their homes more frequently for the first time since social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders were instituted in mid-March, even though experts have urged them not to. For their own good, of course. And, possibly, the amusement of the experts.
                Researchers at the University of Maryland, led by Lei Zhang, the director of the Maryland Transportation Institute, have been tracking the smartphones of well over 100 million Americans to see if they are complying with stay-at-home orders. The researchers say that for the first six weeks after the orders were given the percentage of people staying at home increased or stayed the same. But in recent days, Zhang said, “It has been consistently dropping across the country.” The researchers consider people to be “staying at home” if their phones moved less than one mile each day. (I guess the dead don’t have smart phones or it would be hard to separate them out from those obeying the lockdown orders.)
                Zhang’s team monitors the percentage of people staying at home, the number of trips people make on average, and how many total miles they travel, among other things, and have used this data to develop a social distancing index with which to grade states and counties on a scale from 0 to 100. (100 represents perfect compliance and 0 total disregard for expert’s demands.) According to Zhang, the index has decreased for every state in the union recently, except for Rhode Island. Apparently, the inmates are getting uppity.
                But Zhang is by no means the only one keeping tabs on Americans as if they were big game animals wearing radio tracking collars. Thomas Walle, CEO of Norway-based Unacast, has also been keeping track of how well Americans have been complying with stay-at-home mandates. His company collects and analyzes location data from various sources, including smartphones. Walle says he has observed the same trend as Zhang has, noting that he has also seen a spike recently in the number of devices in the same location. He stated: "This is an early indication that we need to follow in the days and weeks to come of people having a fatigue. You can definitely see that there's starting to be a little trend here that people are more outside and less at home." How dare they!
                Walle also stated the obvious: that, after a lengthy quarantine and the arrival of warmer weather, people are anxious to step outside of their homes. He said that some folks may have a false sense of security since the curve seems to be flattening, while allowing that others may feel that they have to get back to work. You think?
                Don’t you wonder what color and number the pin is that represents you on these researchers’ map walls? I can see them standing there, hands propping up their chins, exclaiming, “Hey, that guy is more than a mile from his domicile! We must stop him and re-educate him!”

You better watch out
You better not fly
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Lei Zhang is watching you now  

He's making a list
And checking it twice
He’s gonna find out who's compliant alright
Lei Zhang is watching you now

He sees you when you are cheating
He knows when you're away
He knows if you've stayed home or not
So stay home for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out!
You better not fly
Better not spout off
I'm telling you why
‘cuz Lei Zhang is watching
 Lei Zhang is watching
Look out! Big Brother is watching you now!
Yeah he is!

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