Trace Together , SafeEntry , Trace Together Token : What is the difference and should you use it?





A wearable tracking device had been developed specifically for Covid19 will be available this month.
Prior to this, there are 3 ways to do Contact Tracing for Covid19. There are the old fashion Call and Trace, the Trace Together app and Safe Sentry system. However, none of the methods is all-encompassing.  There are issues with hardware devices with Trace Together and the limitation of Safe Sentry and Call and Trace methods in detecting close contacts of positive Covid19 cases.

Therefore a new device is necessary to ensure robust tracking of close contacts should the need arises. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a GPS tracking device that would track location. In fact, none of the apps or system implemented would track locations travelled by a person for 24/7.

Here is a summary of the apps and devices to give you a feel of each tracking methods.

Trace Together App
Trace Together App was developed for digital contract tracing using Bluetooth. It was released on 20 March 2020. 

How it works?

  • Trace Together App is developed with the privacy of the individuals in mind.
  • Registration is via phone and National Registration Number.
  • Information is stored on the phone and not available to the public.
  • Does not collect GPS location.
  • Uses Bluetooth to approximate distance to other phones running the same app.
  • Creates temporary ID that changes regularly making it impossible for third parties to identify or track users.
  • Consent can be revoked at any time. 
  • Data only collected when a person has Covid19.

Limitations 
  • 1.8 million downloaded. About 25% of the population downloaded. Such such contact tracing is not encompassing.
  • Does not play well with Apple IOS system. The app needs to be kept open to keep working. 
  • Use of Bluetooth drains the battery of the phone.
  • Not everyone would have a smartphone.



SafeEntry

Safe Entry is a system that uses online check-in to track locations that an individual has been to. 

How it works?
  • It is used in retail outlets, restaurants, malls and offices. 
  • Customers and Employees have to scan the SafeEntry QR Code with smartphones before they are allowed to the premises. NRIC card can be used in place of the phone for this purpose.
  • Can only monitor the location and the time spent at the location 

Limitations
  • It only tracks the places an individual has been to with SafeEntry QR code. Other places, such as a visit to the elderly or a bus/ train ride cannot be detected.
  • Public Transportation do not require SafeEntry for entry. As crowds are known to have formed at public transport, this limits its usefulness.
  • Although checkout is required, many places do not enforce it. Thus the 'time spend' in a premise is distorted when using for contact tracing.
  • Does not provide information such as close contact with a Covid19 positive person.
Trace Together Token
As a backup to Trace Together app, Trace Together Token will be introduced in June. It has similar functions to the app as it only uses Bluetooth Technology without GPS Location function. The information stored in the token can only be shared if one had Covd19.

You can either choose to use the App or the Token as they work in the same fashion

How it works
  • Similar to the App, it uses Bluetooth Technology to approximate distance to other devices running the same app.
  • No GPS chip cannot track the movement.
  • No internet or mobile connectivity ensuring that data cannot be uploaded without the consent of the user.
  • Stores information for 25 days and automatically deleted thereafter.
  • Data only collected when a person has Covid19.
  • Access provide to a limited group of Contract Tracers.
  • Only use for Contract Tracing.

Limitations
  • Unless it is mandatory to carry, it may be underuse.
  • Carrying an extra device may be troublesome for some. There is a risk of losing it if one is not careful




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