There is no bottom

“Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted group to enter the United States. In addition to a screening by the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, the federal government conducts its own vetting process involving multiple law enforcement, national security and intelligence agencies, including fingerprint and biometric security checks, as well as medical screenings. The entire process can take more than two years. …

“In the 40 years since the program was established, no refugee who has entered the country through the resettlement program has killed anyone in a terrorist attack in the United States. Significantly more refugees have been turned away than admitted every year — even before the historically low caps. …

“Refugee resettlement will not survive another four years under this administration. The loss of this program would have major ramifications for America’s international relationships, not to mention the thousands of people seeking refuge. If the nation’s reckoning with race is a mirror into its ideals on justice and equality, then refugee resettlement is the testing ground for our ideals.”

Big Brother is watching you

“The race to embrace invasive tools underscores a simple dynamic at play during the current global pandemic: Public health concerns are trumping the desire to protect individuals’ privacy online and in the real world, even in the home of the General Data Protection Regulation, Europe’s sweeping privacy rules. …

“Pointing to a wave of new surveillance powers approved nationally and EU-wide in 2015- 2017, following a wave of terrorist attacks, critics argue that regulators are green-lighting practices that will be almost impossible to unwind once the pandemic has passed. …

“According to European Commissioner Breton and other top officials urging telecoms operators to hand over data, privacy can be respected because the data concerned is anonymized and aggregated.

“But that is a little reassurance, according to privacy experts who point out that an individual’s identity can easily be deduced from just a handful of anonymized mobile phone location data points.”

European countries are hollowing out hard-fought privacy standards as they embrace tech solutions to fight the coronavirus.