Singapore has announced that it will make the source code of the state tracking app available as open source. The app keeps track of who has encountered the corona virus. Health authorities in the authoritarian city state use the information to find contact persons and send them to quarantine.
Bluetooth For Tracking
When the Bluetooth and location services are switched on, the app should document a time stamp, the Bluetooth signal strength, the phone model and a temporary identifier. The app does not record the locations of the users, but records the distance between them. The use is on a voluntary basis, but citizens are encouraged by the state to use it.
Distances Could Be Derived From The Decreasing Signal Strength
GPS is unsuitable for tracking in a metropolitan area and in enclosed spaces. With Bluetooth, distances could be derived from the decreasing signal strength. The biggest technical hurdle was to take into account the different calibration of phones. For this reason, the device type is included. Even if an app for tracking users deserves a critical consideration even without precise location, the release as a project to combat the spread of the corona virus is worth mentioning. To counter the pandemic, developers are currently taking place worldwide on how people and states can better manage the crisis.
From a data protection point of view, there is nothing against such an app, since the user agrees to the data usage by downloading the app. We now have to use the possibilities of digitization to overcome the crisis. The app makes it possible to identify contact persons for an indexed person. The app is responsible for combating infectious diseases therefore wants to expand the use of cell phone data. Other countries are already using tracking apps. Singapore has announced that it will provide the source code for the state owned tracking app.