But while the tech has been used sporadically for U.S. quarantine enforcement over the past few weeks, large scale rollouts have so far been held back by a big legal question: Can officials impose electronic monitoring without an offense or a court order?
Case in point is Hawaii, which considered the sweeping use of GPS-enabled ankle bracelets or smartphone tracking apps to enforce stay-at-home orders given to arriving air passengers, according to Ronald Kouchi, the president of the Hawaii state senate.
Kouchi said Hawaiian officials were concerned that many travelers were flouting the state’s 14-day quarantine order, putting the archipelago’s inhabitants at risk. But he said that the plan for mass tracking of incoming travelers – inspired by similar technology in place in South Korea – was put on the back burner after the Hawaii attorney general’s office raised concerns.
“America is America,” Kouchi told Reuters. “There are certain rights and freedoms.”