Specifically, Dr. Guliuzza (with other ICR scientists) has extensively clarified how continuous environmental tracking involves a creature’s active acquisition of information about its relevant surroundings to prudently adjust to changing circumstances, ultimately enhancing opportunities to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.1,3
Thus, animals and humans constantly monitor their relevant environments for real-time data, needed to understand what is going on in the outside world—because such relevant information is a basic necessity for staying alive.1,3
But Norway’s recent reaction to the coronavirus pandemic adds a new twist to the notion of continuous tracking—where individual monitoring is switched to individuals being monitored, all in the name of public health priorities.2
Specifically, private individuals in Norway may soon be a lot less private. Installing a new app will convert cell phones into monitoring devices, transmitting personal travel and location data so that coronavirus contagion can be analyzed for immediate quarantine and other responses.2
Although downloading the app will be voluntary, Simula [the software company programming the continuous tracking system] and FHI [Norway’s public health institute] hope to convince 70 percent or more of the Norwegian population to install it on their phones. Once installed, it will then send location data back every few minutes to a secure, encrypted cloud database. When a new patient is confirmed as having coronavirus, the app will then retrieve their location data, and send a text message to everyone who has been closer than two metres away from that person for more than 15 minutes, instructing them to go into quarantine. … [Simula’s executive] conceded that the app was "a very powerful tool" which it would be "possible to abuse", but said he hoped that Norwegians had sufficient faith in their government [to secure the data, without sharing it].2
Does this seem like a loss of privacy as a sacrifice for public health and safety?
Of course, Scripture foretold that what we call “privacy” is vulnerable to disclosure by God, so we cannot say that we haven’t been forewarned.
For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3)
Not to worry—promises are being made that private information will be stored in “the cloud,” and will not be “abused.” Norwegians who trust their government are expected to volunteer for this new continuous location-tracking app program.2 If Norway had America’s 4th Amendment-protected privacy rights, this new program would be promoted as justified, due to the out-of-control threat of coronavirus—because Norway has just reported its sixteenth coronavirus death.4
But, using that rationale, shouldn’t automobiles be banned from the highways, based on traffic death statistics? Norway, about a year ago, with the safest of roads, nonetheless had 108 deaths within one year. Yet, no one rushed, in reaction to that recurring mortality trend, to impose a GPS tracking program that threatened to monitor the location/travel privacy of all Norwegians.5
Maybe Americans—and Norwegians—need to take a lesson from how God has providentially equipped animals with genotypic potentials and phenotypic traits, to be constantly learning what is happening outside of themselves, so they can best be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.
1. Guliuzza, R. J. 2018. Creatures’ Adaptability Begins with Their Sensors. Acts & Facts. 47(3): 17-19. For more, see Guliuzza, R. J. and P. B. Gaskill. 2018. Continuous Environmental Tracking: An Engineering Framework to Understand Adaptation and Diversification. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism. J. H. Whitmore, ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 158–184. See also Guliuzza, R. J. 2019. Engineered Adaptability: Continuous Environmental Tracking Wrap-Up. Acts & Facts. 48(8): 17-19
2. “Norway's national health agency [Norwegian Institute of Public Health] is launching an infection tracking app that will monitor the population's movements and then ask people to go into quarantine if they have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case.” Staff writer. 2020. Norway Health Agency to Launch Coronavirus Tracking App. The Local—Norway. Posted on thelocal.no March 27, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
3. For example, see Johnson, J. J. S. 2016. Even Fish Need to Know! Acts & Facts. 45(1):21.
4. Staff writer. 2020. Coronavirus Latest: Two New Deaths from Coronavirus in Norway Brings Total to 16. The Local—Norway. Posted on thelocal.no March 27, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020.
5. Norwegians are more likely to die in traffic accidents, statistically speaking, than by Wuhan Virus contagion, as is shown by 108 traffic fatalities within 12 months, as compared to 16 Coronavirus deaths during the first quarter of 2020. Nikel, D. 2019. Norway has World’s Safest Roads. Life in Norway. Posted on lifeinnorway.net December 1, 2019, accessed April 7, 2020.
*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.