News outlet VICE was the first to report the tracking. The article quotes a cybersecurity researcher who warns the CDC "seems to have purposefully created an open-ended list of use cases, which included monitoring curfews, neighbor-to-neighbor visits, visits to churches …, schools and pharmacies, and also a variety of analysis with this data specifically focused on 'violence.'" VICE adds that the document examined doesn't stop at churches; it mentions "places of worship."
A company known as SafeGraph initially provided the data to the CDC in 2020 free of charge. In April 2021, the CDC awarded a contract to SafeGraph to purchase mobility data for an additional year.
AFN reached out to CDC and asked the following: Is there anything from VICE that CDC found inaccurate or misleading? The reply AFN received included the information stated above as well as the following:
"CDC presents the "Percent at home" SafeGraph metric and metrics from other sources on the Mobility page of CDC's COVID Data Tracker website for public consumption.
"CDC has also analyzed and published scientific reports [here and here, on its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report] using SafeGraph data."
Twila Brase, RN and president/co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, isn't surprised the CDC would want to use cellphones as a surveillance tool.
"But I think it is a very bad and unconstitutional idea," Brase responds. "Essentially what they are doing is looking to see how well people comply with their lockdown orders.
"But if you look at this kind of in detail, just think of what they can do," she continues. "When they have that kind of data, they can get in the middle of our lives and restrict and restrict and restrict to their hearts' content because they're watching what's happening, and they can come up with reasons for more restrictions, more regulations, and less freedom for everyone."
Tea Party Patriots Action (TPPA) honorary chairman Jenny Beth Martin says Chinese President Xi Jinping must be pleased to learn that his communist government's surveillance-state thinking has been adopted by an agency of Joe Biden's government.
"Tracking cell phones to capture people going to church during the pandemic? Seriously? This is outrageous," says Martin. "Sadly, it's come to be expected from the Biden administration, which seems to believe it has the authority to snoop into everything and everyone it wants."
Citizens' Council for Health Freedom contends the CDC should not "in any way shape or form" be tracking people using their phones, whether or not those people are identified. "It is still a way for the government to become coercive against the rights and freedom of the people," says Brase.