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Singapore admits sharing data from its AntiCovid app with police

TraceTogether

Is AntiCovid at risk of becoming a kind of Big Brother? Singapore announced Monday, January 4, 2020 that data from the national app, bpatisé TraceTogether, could be shared with the police as part of criminal investigations. The authorities had however assured that this data would be used exclusively to fight against COVID-19.

TraceTogether
Credit: TraceTogether

On social media, residents of the city-state of Singapore are appalled. On Monday January 4, 2020, the government admitted to Singapore parliamentarians that data from the national contact tracing application TraceTogether, used by more than 80% of the population, could now be used by the police in the context of criminal investigations.

The government had however assured, to better accept the application, that privacy would be guaranteed by strong encryption devices and that the application’s data would be used exclusively to fight against COVID-19. This drift, which has worried users from other countries, including France, from the start, seems to be taking shape in Singapore.

Singapore’s decision provokes anger and de-installations

“This is something that I actually reported from the early days of TraceTogether”, explains a user on Twitter. And to continue: “I was often told that I was paranoid and that I was spreading fear by undermining the fight against COVID-19. It doesn’t do good to find out that I’m right ”.

Another quoted by BBC: “I think the reason most people get angry isn’t that they feel like they’re being watched all the time. We already have this through other means such as video surveillance. No, here it is more that they have the feeling of having been deceived ”.

Many messages call for uninstalling the application. While NGOs, like Digital Rights Watch, an Australian whistleblower around online freedoms, say they are “Extremely worried” of the situation in Singapore. The city-state has been a pioneer in the fight against COVID-19 from the start.

Also read: AntiCovid – all you need to know about the anti-covid app

This choice, which is difficult to understand from abroad, risks making the breakthrough in contact tracing applications even more sluggish than it is today. In France, according to the latest figures AntiCovid contact tracing application has been downloaded 10 million times.

Source: BBC