Chicago Using Social Media to Monitor Tourists Violating Quarantine

To help enforce an emergency coronavirus travel order, Chicago is monitoring the social media posts of tourists for possible violations and using them as criminal evidence.

According to NBC Chicago, public health authorities in the city announced during a press conference that suspected offenders would have their social media accounts checked by officials to collect evidence for a possible citation.

Travelers arriving in Chicago from predetermined areas dealing with an increased number of coronavirus cases are required to quarantine for a 14-day period as part of the emergency travel order that took effect on July 6.

“One of the easiest ways to sort of get enough proof that there was the potential of a violated quarantine order without me having to send out an inspector or do any sort of more aggressive follow up to collect that is to look at social media,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady told NBC Chicago.

“They’re in any of the states that violated our order and then a few days later, they’re in Chicago, and they’re clearly out in Chicago, not just back, but at a restaurant or at the Bean or whatever it may be, and they’re posting about that — that’s an example of where we could use that as proof to issue citations,” Arwady continued.

Officials said suspected violators would be identified through contact tracing or other measures, with visitors from 22 states and Puerto Rico being forced to quarantine upon arrival.

“I don’t want to like overemphasize that we’re somehow Big Brother in monitoring people’s social accounts — we’re absolutely not doing that,” Arwady aid. “But where we already have a concern, it’s one of the easiest ways to identify people who are not just breaking the travel order but flaunting it publicly.”

Chicago isn’t alone tracking travelers, as Singapore now requires incoming tourists to wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure that they’re complying with the destination’s mandatory quarantine order.

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