Pakistani intelligence service is deploying surveillance technology to track suspected and confirmed patients of coronavirus, which is usually used to locate high-value militants.
The development came after Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan announced seeking assistance from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for tackling the virus.
Details of the project have not yet been made public but two officials told AFP that the spy agency was using geo-fencing and phone-monitoring systems for monitoring.
Geo-fencing, a strategic tracking system alerts authorities when a suspect leaves a specific geographic area. This tool is also helping officials to monitor neighbourhoods during the lockdown.
Authorities are also tapping phone calls of COVID-19 patients to check, whether their contacts are talking about having symptoms.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, a senior security official said that the trace-and-track system helped authorities track the mobile phones of coronavirus patients as well as anyone they get in touch with before or after their disappearance.
“The government has been successful in tracing even those who tested positive but went into hiding,” added the official.
“It was originally used against terrorism, but now they can be used effectively to trace-and-track corona patients,” they maintained.
Rights groups, on the other hand, are concerned that institutions with such power can abuse their sweeping surveillance to curb political dissidents.
Countries across the world have employed track-and-trace methods to control the virus spread, raising privacy concerns.
More than 61,000 people in Pakistan have tested positive and more than 1,200 patients have died.