A message about Coronavirus

April 3, 2020

Good morning, hope all of you are safe and well. I have received many emails, texts, and phone calls concerning Cell Phone GPS Tracking by the State. This is and can be alarming, is it a violation of our privacy, is it big brother( big Sister) watching us?

 

The Kansas Justice Institute ask these questions of Governor Kelly and she responded in her daily news conference. They are using public data from Unacast to monitor movement by County, however they do not monitor individual cell phone traffic. Here is the web site you can see the data the State is using

https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard

 

As you can see the scoreboard gives each County a grade based on the amount of traffic movement that occurs within the County.

 

Concern has been raised that this method is unreliable, and easily manipulated for rural areas of our State. It is true the Governor widened her order to statewide partially because of this data. Herein lies the main concern, there is not a corner grocery store in most of our rural communities, the pharmacy is not just down the block, and the doctor’s office isn’t located on Main Street. Our Rural residents rely on these services the same as our metropolitan citizens do, they just travel farther to obtain them.

 

So isn’t it logical to assume our Rural Counties will have more traffic movement even though there is a smaller population base? To grade our rural neighbors down because they have to travel to get their necessary goods and services, is not fair, it is over reach, and really not necessary. Where are the “hotspots”, in our metropolitan areas. A couple days ago 2/3s of our Counties did not have a single case of the virus.

 

We must be careful, we must be safe, practice common sense, but we also should practice local control. Let our County Commissioners monitor and report their conditions in their Counties. If warranted they can order stay at home orders as many counties did early on.

 

I know many members of the Legislature, the Kansas Justice Institute and others are closely watching this cell phone tracking, our rights under the Constitution should not be violated.

 

I urge everyone to be safe, to continue to stay alert to stop the spread this virus, practice social distancing, and continue to monitor this situation.

 

God Bless

 

 

Larry Alley

Senator Kansas District 32

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