Across Central Asia, Police States Expand Under the Cover of COVID-19

Armed police officers wearing face masks block an area in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 19, 2020 (AP photo by Vladimir Tretyakov).
Armed police officers wearing face masks block an area in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 19, 2020 (AP photo by Vladimir Tretyakov).

In April, the Kyrgyz news outlet Kloop posted a video on YouTube showing a new app called STOP COVID-19. Developed by the government of Kyrgyzstan, it allows the authorities to follow the whereabouts of those exposed to the coronavirus. The video shows the movements of two individuals being tracked by combining their digital profiles and phone locations with their government-issued IDs. In theory, STOP COVID-19 is a valuable tool in the government’s efforts to track and trace confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients. But the app goes much further than most Kyrgyz citizens would likely be comfortable with. In addition to […]

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