Surveillance Company Claims It Has Developed ‘Coronavirus-Detecting’ Cameras

thermal camera image
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A surveillance company based in Austin, Texas, claims they have created a camera system that can detect if a person has the Wuhan coronavirus. The camera reportedly uses thermal technology to detect fevers.

According to a report by VICE, a company called Athena Security in Austin, Texas, claims that it has created a surveillance camera that can detect fevers in humans. The technology is being advertised as a potential precautionary device to prevent the further spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

“Our Fever Detection COVID19 Screening System is now apart of our platform along with our gun detection system which connects directly to your current security camera system to deliver fast, accurate threat detection – including guns, knives, and aggressive action. Our system can also alert you to falls, accidents, and unwelcome visitors,” Athena’s website reads.

Christopher Ciabarra, one of the co-founders of Athena, argued that the virus-detecting technology can be “life-saving” because it could allow governments and businesses to let people know that they should self-quarantine.

“Since higher temperature is one of the first symptoms, these cameras can be life-saving — warning the person that they could have the virus and encouraging that person to take serious steps to self-quarantine,” Ciabarra said. “Although many voters today are bound to get it, steps in the coming weeks could prevent them from spreading the bug to loved ones and strangers alike.”

However, the technology is facing criticism from civil liberty advocates that are concerned that this form of surveillance constitutes a violation of individual privacy rights.

Gaurav Laroia, Senior Policy Counsel and privacy expert at consumer group Free Press, argued that governments are often more willing to violate civil liberties during national emergencies.

“Public health measures should be driven by science and not used opportunistically to reverse the progress we’ve made in rolling back the government’s domestic surveillance powers since 9/11,” Laroia said. “We must be vigilant about our community’s health — and rights as well.”

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