back to article Singapore to open-source national Coronavirus encounter-tracing app and the Bluetooth research behind it

Singapore plans to open source a smartphone app its digital government team has developed to track citizens' encounters with Coronavirus carriers. The app, named TraceTogether and its government is urging citizens to run so that if they encounter a Coronavirus carrier, it’s easier to trace who else may have been exposed to the …

  1. Mark192

    Oooh, open sourcing it.

    We'll soon see similar products being offered by shady security outfits but with slightly different use cases...

    1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Grim world view, but probably true. Dammit.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      The NSA is not a shady security outfit, it is a shady national security outfit.

      1. Julz Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        The NSA is just the cuddly front for the YKW.

    3. e^iπ+1=0
      Big Brother

      Shady outfits

      Presumably one needs to have the application on a large number of devices in a region to work reliably using Bluetooth. 1% might be too low.

      So, the TLAs / shady outfits would need to get this preinstalled on phones or bundled in as e.g. an os feature for those in the region, or make it a requirement for progressing past the checkpoint.

      For example, install this application if you want to be allowed to leave your home. They have something like that in China.

  2. Palpy

    To add to the pessimism, the 3-letter agencies --

    -- already have this, don't you think? I mean, if non-spook devs can come up with an app like this in a couple of months, then surely the spook-devs who have been working on this stuff since phones got smart have already gotten there.

    The squeeze right now is the testing. Your app can't know that the person you just brushed past is CoV-SARS-2 positive unless they've tested positive, and if -- as in many countries -- you're only testing 0.5% of the population, then the app is a cool toy but fails as a tool to prevent infection.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: To add to the pessimism, the 3-letter agencies --

      If it's keeping history for 3 weeks, then anyone who is testing positive today can have their contacts traced to see who is needs to be checked.

      If it works.

  3. StevieP

    Highly suspect reliability

    Having worked in BLE bluetooth with beacons for a couple of years, i have yet to see a single person get anything reliable out of the RSSI (relative strength indicator). It is the dream we all have to be able to make bluetooth beacons a reliable discovery product (and no, not for nefarious reasons). One minute a beacon is 5 metres away and the next it has magically moved to 15 metres. So effectively working with dozens of different broadcasting handsets rather than just a single beacon from one manufacturer, well,... I am highly doubtful that this app will be reliable.

  4. Mellipop

    out damned commentards

    It's an effort, and it's open source. Get behind it. Make it better. Help society instead of sniping. Just once, be nice.

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