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Last month I wrote a short essay covering some of the issues around standing up contact tracing across the U.S., as part of a test/trace/quarantine regime that would accompany the ending of a general lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic:

Until a vaccine or other transformative medical intervention is developed, the broad consensus of experts is that the only way out of mass sheltering in place, if hospital occupancy curves are to remain flattened, entails waiting for most of the current cases to resolve, and then cautiously and incrementally reopening. That would mean a sequence of allowing people out; promptly testing anyone showing symptoms — and even some who are not; identifying recent proximate contacts of those who test positive; and then getting in touch with those contacts and, if circumstances dictate, asking or demanding that they individually shelter until the disease either manifests or not. …


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People across America and the world remain under strong advisories or outright orders to shelter in place, and economies largely shut down, as part of an ongoing effort to flatten the curve of the most virulent pandemic since 1918. The economic effects have been predictably staggering, with no clear end in sight.

Until a vaccine or other transformative medical intervention is developed, the broad consensus of experts is that the only way out of mass sheltering in place, if hospital occupancy curves are to remain flattened, entails waiting for most of the current cases to resolve, and then cautiously and incrementally reopening. That would mean a sequence of allowing people out; promptly testing anyone showing symptoms — and even some who are not; identifying recent proximate contacts of those who test positive; and then getting in touch with those contacts and, if circumstances dictate, asking or demanding that they individually shelter until the disease either manifests or not. …


Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously ripped up her copy of the President’s State of the Union address on camera after he finished delivering it.

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Later, the President retweeted a video based on it. The video the President retweeted (and pinned) had been edited to appear like the Speaker had been ripping up pages throughout the speech, as if reacting contemptuously to each American credited by name, like Tuskeegee Airman Charles McGee.

An official from the Speaker’s office has publicly sought to have Facebook and Twitter take down the video, since it’s not depicting something real.

So, should Twitter and Facebook take it down? …

About

Jonathan Zittrain

Prof. @Harvard_Law, @HSEAS, @Kennedy_School + @BerkmanCenter for Internet & Society; @EFF board member; a small creature who likes to run around in universities

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