The Covid19 multi-ministry taskforce announced that by end-Dec 2020, the public can no longer gain entry into popular venues by scanning SafeEntry QR codes or their NRIC barcodes. The government will be making it compulsory for members of the public to check in using the TraceTogether app or token instead.
While the taskforce Minister Lawrence Wong tried to justify this mandatory move as a criteria before Singapore can enter phrase three, he ironically says that having 70% of Singapore’s population using TraceTogether is sufficient. What is the purpose or effectiveness of TraceTogether if not 100% of the population adopt this contact tracing technology?
Some netizens wonder if the government is making TraceTogether compulsory due to its low take-up rate. Indeed Lawrence Wong revealed only 45% of the population are currently using the TraceTogether app or token.
Despite initial skepticism on developing such contact tracing technology when Google and Apple have created their in-house contact tracing functions like Exposure Notification, the government bulldozed its way into awarding tenders to built the TraceTogether dongle. The end product was an unimpressive bulky dongle which requires the use of Bluetooth to exchange short-distance “encrypted” signals. However Singaporeans remain unconvinced about their privacy concerns and data safety.
TraceTogether looks to be another wasteful government project as the resources ($6 million tender) put to building this bulky dongle could have been used to aid Singaporeans facing tough times during Covid19.