The newly proposed wearable device for contact tracing – TraceTogether token – has drawn flak from many netizens recently as they raised privacy concerns in relation to the device.
Following that, the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan reiterated in a media briefing on 8 June that the device is not a tracking device, adding that it will not have GPS capabilities nor mobile internet connectivity to track user’s movements.
The Minister noted that the device only uses Bluetooth proximity data which will be encrypted and stored in the phone for up to 25 days before it automatically deleted from the phone.
“It’s worth emphasizing that there isn’t one big giant centralised database. In fact, the data is decentralised and encrypted on phones and on devices and only uploaded if [the user] is positive,” he stated.
The data will only be extracted from the phone if a user is infected with the COVID-19 disease, which Mr Balakrishnan reassured that only a “small number of personnel have access to the data for contact tracing purposes” who are covered by the Official Secrets Act.
Nevertheless, many netizens still refused to believe the Minister’s explanation. Penning their thoughts under the comments section of Mothership.sg Facebook post – covering the media briefing – a handful of netizens said that the device will only be a waste of resources, adding that the Government should have used the country’s reserve wisely.
While some commented that the Government should have used the resources that were spent on developing the TraceTogether token on looking for the COVID-19 cure instead.
Others opined that the device would be wasteful to nature as it is not environmental-friendly.