An app called Cmore, which is intended to be used by game park rangers to stop animal poaching, is now being used for another purpose: to track COVID-19.
According to Scientific American, Cmore (or Command and Control Collaborator) records information from screenings and allows for the tracking of possible COVID-19 infections.
Developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the application has software which allows a game park to track certain incidents using their cellphones. Essentially, it gives the control centre and rangers information to track poaching incidents, sightings and carcass locations, reports Times Live. The app also allows for the tracking of rangers who are patrolling.
As the pandemic hit South Africa, we saw the rise of door-to-door screening. Screeners would ask the relevant questions at each house and input the information into the Cmore app. This made tracking, tracing, and analysis much easier.
Scientific American reported that the app was adapted in order to be used for the purposes of screening of COVID-19.
Of course, the issue of privacy would come up in an instance like this. Speaking to Scientific America, Jane Duncan, a media freedom expert at the University of Johannesburg said: “We don’t have a securitized approach toward contact tracing, which is a safeguard.”
The magazine reported that South Africa ensures the information collected remains in the hands of the health agency and nobody else. This means that police or other officials are unable to gain access to the information.