London (CNN)Spit into a cup when you land in an airport, and your DNA is stored. Every phone in every city talks to every other nearby device, their exchanges floating somewhere in the ether. Cross-border travel is enabled only by governments sharing data about millions of private movements.
These are all possible visions of a future that the coronavirus pandemic has rushed on us — decades of change effected, sometimes it feels, in just weeks. But a lurch into an even more intense era of mass data-collection — the vast hoovering up of who went near whom and when, who is healthy to travel, and even scraps of personal DNA languishing in databases — appears to be on the verge of becoming the new reality.
Will this grave new world intensify our desire for privacy, or extinguish what little left of it we had?