TraceTogether: Should I download or not?

2 min read
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Credits: The Straits Times, and Mothership
Last Friday (20 Mar), a new mobile application called TraceTogether geared towards boosting contact tracing efforts in Singapore was launched. It was developed by Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in tandem with Ministry of Health (MOH).
Credit: SoyaCincau

Since Friday evening, more than 620,000 people installed TraceTogether

Jason Bay, Senior Director at the Government Digital Services team at GovTech, said on Saturday (21 Mar) that the signup rate of new users was at several thousand per minute, occasionally reaching nearly a hundred per second.

TraceTogether Ops Room Credit: Jason Bay

According to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan on Facebook, in the past 3 days since the app launch, it has been installed by more than 620,000 people as of Monday (23 Mar) morning.

So kudos to Singaporeans for being proactive in this difficult time again!

How does it work?

The app identifies other users who are in close proximity – within 2m for at least 30 minutes – to COVID-19 patients using wireless Bluetooth technology and records them in a log. For tracing to be done, Bluetooth, push notifications and location permissions in the phone must be enabled.

“When requested by MOH, users can send their TraceTogether logs to facilitate the contact tracing process. Up to that point, the authorities, including MOH and GovTech, have no knowledge of the user’s TraceTogether data,” said the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO).

Credit: GoodyFeed

A code will be provided to the users by official contact tracers and it can be used to match with the verification code on the user’s app. When the authentication is complete, users can use the provided PIN to submit the logs. If contacted by contact tracers, users will asked to share their data logs or face prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Other than the user’s mobile number, which is used to contact users quickly if they were in close proximity with a confirmed case, no other data is collected by the government. The app also only records who they have been in close proximity with and the data is encrypted and stored locally in phone.

However, this can only work with enough users so the data collected is substantial.

Scan the above QR code to download the app.

Props to the developing team for improving contact tracing methods!


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