A new government department has been set up called the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and has already begun scaling up operations.
The Orwellian sounding department is the brainchild of Chris Whitty and will replace Public Health which wasn't orwellian enough. Consistent with their ‘drive to use digital technology to improve physical health and prevent health conditions before they develop’, the first step is to issue a tool by which Britain can be transformed into a health-based surveillance state.
From January, in a region yet to be defined, a pilot scheme backed by the Health Secretary will see users with ‘wrist-worn’ devices on which points for healthy behaviours can be accrued, which in turn unlock ‘rewards’ such as food vouchers, gift cards and discounts at shops, cinemas and theme parks. The Department of Health is contributing £3million to the project, which is essentially the development of personalised behavioural tracking units for the overweight.
The winning contractor HeadUp Systems, who specialise in ‘harnessing the power of wearable technology and AI’ will have as their design and evaluation partner the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) known as the ‘Nudge Unit’, members of whom sit on SAGE sub-group SPI-B. Some of them would doubtless have been embroiled in the March 2020 advice to Government to bludgeon the nation with Covid-19-related terror-nudges whilst simultaneously condoning the use of ‘social disapproval for failure to comply’.
Two late September blog posts on the BIT website show us exactly what this team of cattle prodders have been up to of late, and it makes similarly ugly and portentous reading to their March 2020 contribution to help maintain public adherence to lockdowns. To help Government improve the public’s risk perception of coronavirus – as if they should require any further assistance after 20 months of unremitting propagandist messaging – BIT have identified two crucial groups: those who have not yet resumed normal levels of socialising out of fear (‘strong compliers’), and those who take no precautions at all (called ‘potential superspreaders’).
As the 2020 unfolded it became clear that the latter became the target for the Behavioral insights team the latter. In a briefing to the government they stated: ‘Finding opportunities to reach them is likely to be hard . . . We’ll need to be creative in finding touchpoints to engage potential superspreaders. This is an important endeavour: changing the behaviour of “potential superspreaders” may be one of the most important factors determining whether the UK navigates the challenges of autumn and winter successfully.’
BIT have been behind a push to introduce a 'universal health pass', and the attack on the non-compliant necessary to facilitate this. During the last 18 months they have pushed for mandatory vaccinations, vaccine passports, withholding public services for refuseniks, and even detention centres for non-compliers.
Now the newly formed Office for Health Improvement are to issue 'wearable devices' that appear a cross between a smartwatch and an ASBO tag which will monitor your activity for government approval. The government have the power to make the devices mandatory under the Public Health Act 1984 which is the act of parliament that allowed house arrest of all healthy people in 2020.