To assist the ongoing contact tracing efforts amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore, a contact-tracing smartphone app has been launched to track people who have been exposed to confirmed coronavirus cases. Worldwide, governments have employed the use of technology to curb the spread of the virus.
The TraceTogether app, developed by Singapore's Government Technology Agency and the health ministry, works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect users in close proximity of 2 meters. The records of these encounters will be stored locally on users' phones, and the health ministry would need to request the users to access these logs.
The efforts of Singapore in curbing the spread of the virus have been appreciated globally which include the use of police investigators and security cameras to track suspected carriers of the virus. Information like the user's location will not be accessed by the app, and the data stored on it will be encrypted. Janil Puthucheary, a senior minister of state, informed reporters that “the engineering has preserved the privacy of the users from each other.”
Last month, Singapore charged a Chinese couple with providing inaccurate information regarding their movements to authorities tasked with tracing their contacts. Although the use of the app is voluntary, the government stated that it would encourage people to download it. As per its description in the Apple App Store, TraceTogether's functionality will be suspended after the epidemic subsides.