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and field teams to identify close contacts. The Singapore Police Force also provides support in finding unreachable or unfindable contacts.6

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Singapore has leveraged its existing institutional capacity to create a set of additional technologies to aid in contact tracing. Key to this effort is GovTech, Singapore’s technology agency, whose software development capabilities allow the government to build new technologies without needing to rely on external, commercial vendors. One example is TraceTogether, a government-developed application that people are encouraged to install on their mobile phones. TraceTogether uses Bluetooth to identify other nearby phones that have the TraceTogether app installed. If someone becomes infected, the data can be used to identify those with whom the person was in close proximity. The app does not track an individual’s location and stores and shares data under a specific set of opt-in conditions. Its implementation is open-source and published in a white paper,7 and its relatively quick roll-out has contributed to an ongoing international discussion about the efficacy of measuring social distance through Bluetooth. Usage of TraceTogether is voluntary, and, as of the end of April 2020, only approximately 20% of the population had installed it.8 A lower-tech wearable dongle is being explored as an alternative for those who do not have a smartphone. Similarly, GovTech developed SafeEntry, a mobile phonebased system to log building visitors. Use of SafeEntry is required for all businesses and services, with employees and visitors using a QR code to check in and out of the premises using their name, identity number, and mobile phone number. This data forms an integral part of opening up the country after the initial lock-down, and is used for contact tracing and (in aggregated form) analytics.9 Alternatively, people may scan their national ID card for access to publicly accessible buildings, although some retailers require the use of SafeEntry via smartphone.

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Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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