Tracking, tracing and testing contacts of those who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus is considered essential in stamping out the spread of the coronavirus, but without technology this process is very complicated, requiring those involved to retrace their steps in detail and recall everyone they interacted with, even strangers.
Fortunately, we all carry our smartphones, which allows all kinds of technological solutions to the problem. At the forefront of this has been Singapore with its TraceTogether app, which lets those who tested positive for the virus anonymously alert all those who were closer than 6 feet to them that they are at increased risk and may need testing.
Journalist John Robb now reports that the Singaporean government is working to open source the Tracetogether app so it can be used in other locations.
Despite the potential for massive privacy issues, the app in fact is very thoughtful about managing user data. It only collects your phone number, the data it exchanges via Bluetooth with other devices are only temporary identifiers, the data is only stored locally on your handset unless you test positive, and the app does not in fact store your location data.
Singapore has been lauded for managing the COVID-19 pandemic much better than most other countries, and hopefully, other governments will pick up this useful technological innovation in the war on the virus.