back to article Singapore to require smartphone check-ins at all businesses and will log visitors' national identity numbers

Singapore will from May 12th require all businesses to adopt a system that checks visitors into and out of their premises using their smartphones, and has already made using the system compulsory before entering some venues. Called “SafeEntry”, the system is designed to enhance Singapore's coronavirus contact-tracing …

  1. Maelstorm
    Big Brother

    In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

    George Orwell would be proud. 1984 has arrived in Singapore. They probably even have room 101 in the Ministry of Love to torture those who refuse to carry a smart phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the UK, 1984 will be arriving very shortly.

      Don't laugh. The UK will be announcing the exact same "Electronic Ball&Chain^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Passport" here very soon once they've softened us all up with this "It's all OK to go back to work" in the name of Profit & Herd Immunity,

      Coming soon: your very own Stasi Penal Tracking Bracelet:

      Coronavirus health passports for UK 'possible in months'

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: In the UK, 1984 will be arriving very shortly.

        Also in the UK:

        Vote Leave AI firm wins seven government contracts in 18 months

        Conservative party members sent tests

        So in these two stories, we have:

        - No data separation between the NHS and Tory party membership lists (sign up for the Tory party if you want a test, if you are in the Tory party you are apparently a key worker).

        - No data separation between the government and Faculty, the Vote Leave data mining firm.

        - No data separation between the previous things and Palantir.

        But, please do install the NHS-government-Faculty-Palantir app.

        Icon looks a bit like Cummings with a moustache.

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

      In other news: Google, Facebook and Apple's CEOs enjoy a Zoom session where they toast Singapore's prime minister with champagne.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

      Singapore has been 1984 since WWII

      It is a single party 'democracy' where there is a fake-news law prosecuting you for reporting any crime by the governing party.

      Why do you think Boris wants to be Singapore on Thames ?

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

        Oh, and caning! Don't forget caning...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

          That just makes it attractive for public school boys.

          I'll go and hide now :)

    4. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

      OK, but how would you do contact tracing, as it has been shown to be an effective way of containing the spread of COVID-19?

      Possibly (with the co-operation of App Stores) there could be an auto kill-switch to delete the application at a point in time (although this does not deal with the data already collected)

      However, no solution would appear to cover those without smartphones....

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

        "OK, but how would you do contact tracing, as it has been shown to be an effective way of containing the spread of COVID-19?"

        I favor the complete approach. Make a really big grid of buildings and keep everyone in a specific room. Don't let them leave. Use cameras to monitor the halls so you can see if anyone leaves. Those cameras are watched by a set of guards, each of them in their own room as well. Each camera will be watched by at least two guards and be attached to motion sensing software. Should a person try to leave, they should be presumed to be willing to murder by coming into contact and imprisoned for that crime. Since they probably only bother to do this if they have the disease, you cannot safely detain them, so they should be shot. Follow my advice, and I guarantee COVID will be extinct in your area within a month of full participation.

        You can do many things to solve a problem. Instituting a surveillance system that seems straight out of North Korea and, incidentally, in no way guaranteed to have an effect is a very bad way to solve a problem.

        But that's not enough. I've stated why it's a bad idea from a human rights perspective, but let's talk about what effect it would actually have from a health one. If you know who went where and when they went in, you know ... not all that much really about who they might infect. You don't know who they passed versus who was on the opposite side of the building. You don't know whether they had a long conversation with anyone. You don't know whether they were wearing protective equipment while inside there, as even if you recorded a picture of them going in, they could remove it a minute later. You don't know what route they used to get to that place from the last place you tracked them. You technically don't even know that they are the person they say they are, if this only involves scanning QR codes; it's easy to copy someone else's QR code and display it, so unless there's an employee whose job it is to take ID cards that have been touched by random people and bring that card close to their face, lying should be somewhat easy.

        All privacy issues aside, this plan doesn't really work at all for contact tracing. Tracking apps do, but this doesn't. Now bringing the privacy issues back, this is a perfect method of oppressing a population. There's a reason it's been tried in many a dictatorship--if you can get it working, you can do a lot to your citizens. We now get to see the high tech implementation of a dictator's dream.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: In Singapore, 1984 has arrived.

          The world leader in surveillance deployment is not North Korea, it is the UK.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. osakajin Bronze badge

    I am so scared

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Same here. It's not even a slippery slope any more, it's a proper fucking cliff edge.

      1. highdiver_2000

        This is a temporary measure. Or do you prefer Google and Apple make something baked into your smart phone constantly watching you?

        1. OssianScotland Silver badge

          At this point, I always remember that UK income tax was also a temporary measure - introduced to pay for the Napoleonic Wars.

          "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

          Benjamin Franklin

          1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

            I prefer what Thomas Jefferson said: ""Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem", which is Latin for "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery". Americans used to say "Give me liberty, or give me death." Now, they say "Give me neither liberty nor death".

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              No, now they say,"I don't care about Liberty, Give me Stupidity."

              I really like that Jefferson quote, even if I can't pronounce it...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Don't worry. Nobody really knows how to pronounce Latin properly: Oxford and Cambridge differ. It may be connected with the fact that the Romans didn't have tape recorders in those days.

        2. Kane Silver badge
          Big Brother

          "Or do you prefer Google and Apple make something baked into your smart phone constantly watching you?"

          Don't they already?

          1. highdiver_2000

            Not to this detail!

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "This is a temporary measure."

          There's always one who'll fall for it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh, id checks, welcome back!

    what Tony B. failed to implement, virus is doing, quietly. Sure, the cost is "a bit" higher, but the motivation, i.e. for the good of Citizens, stays the same, always the same. And you know, the "temporary" doesn't really make sense, given the "SECOND WAVE" can hit any moment (replace "second" with "x-number"). Only a totally irresponsible person would argue those safety measures should be dropped. And don't you even try to argue a vaccine, our scientifically proven data indicates there are 3647477475445 unknown viruses out there, they can hit AT. ANY. TIME, the invisible evil doers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

      Nothing to see here. Dominic Cumming's Vote Leave apparatchiks aren't charging the UK Taxpayer an arm and a leg for making this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

      "As a thought experiment, consider a hypothetical government that demands that every citizen wears a biometric bracelet that monitors body temperature and heart-rate 24 hours a day. The resulting data is hoarded and analysed by government algorithms. The algorithms will know that you are sick even before you know it, and they will also know where you have been, and who you have met. The chains of infection could be drastically shortened, and even cut altogether. Such a system could arguably stop the epidemic in its tracks within days. Sounds wonderful, right?"

      1. NIck Hunn

        Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

        That exactly the plot of Ira Levin's "The Perfect Day". Exactly 50 years ahead of its time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

        Then they look up your age and your full NHS medical records and Deny you a place at a Hospital because you'd overrun their capacity and because don't have very many Tax-Paying years (if any) left to contribute to government coffers anyway.

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

          They'll also know who you're having an affair with. And more amusingly, from the biometrics they'll know that your partner was faking it!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

            "They'll also know who you're having an affair with. "

            MPs and especially government ministers exempted of course.

      3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

        Any temperature and pulse sensing will primarily be used to ensure people don't remove the mandated tracker bracelet and to send out an automatic fine if they do.

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

        ""As a thought experiment, consider a hypothetical government that demands that every citizen wears a biometric bracelet that monitors body temperature and heart-rate 24 hours a day. The resulting data is hoarded and analysed by government algorithms. The algorithms will know that you are sick even before you know it, and they will also know where you have been, and who you have met."

        And nothing bad can ever come from that. For example, if someone with some power, or a criminal organization, want to track people who they don't like, they only have to read from that database to have perfect tracking information for their soon-to-be victim. And if they're worried about that victim having given information about them to someone else for prosecution or publication, they can use the "who they met" section of the data to get a shortlist and find any possibilities. If the one doing the tracking is a little further up the ladder, being a government member rather than a hacker or a corrupt cop, the person can also be arrested because you can pretty much guarantee that they forgot to charge their permanent tracker sometime, and it would surely be a crime to go about without your monitor in working order. I can solve lots of current problems for you if you don't mind me creating much worse ones.

    3. magumba

      Re: oh, id checks, welcome back!

      “Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America nor, for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ... [V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

      Hermann Goering 1946

  5. Aqua Marina
    Big Brother

    0000000000001101

    Not enough! Instead they should be chipping everyone, old, young, rich, poor at birth like people chip pets. All smart phones should have an app that detects when they come into proximity with a chip, and upload it to the cloud based servers where it will store, log and process. All supermarkets, shops and banks should have the same detectors, in fact all cash registers should have these. If you want to buy or sell you need to be chipped, or service will be refused. For simplicity the chip should be placed in either the right hand, or on the forehead. Hmmmm now where have I read about something similar in the past......

    Then tie peoples identity in with the chip, their sexual preference, religion, political leanings. What could possibly go wrong?

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "checks visitors into and out of their premises using their smartphones"

    Nice idea, unfortunately when I travel abroad, I don't take my phone.

    So, what's the solution there ? Do I get a government-approved phone to trace me ?

    I would actually have no problem with that. Use it as prescribed while I'm there, give it back when I leave. Sounds perfect to me.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: "checks visitors into and out of their premises using their smartphones"

      Do I get a government-approved phone to trace me ?

      I imagine you'll be offered the choice of handing over your credit card to purchase a suitable phone or getting on the next flight home.

  7. Mog_X

    What happens if you forget to record one of the 'entry' or 'exit' events? I'm reminded of this from HHGTTG:

    "A fabulously beautiful planet, Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative eroision by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt."

  8. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    The resulting data is uploaded to a cloud service where, the Ministry says, it will only be used “by authorised personnel for contact tracing purposes, and stringent measures are in place to safeguard the data in accordance with the Government’s data security standards.”

    Authorised [sic] personnel: Any jobsworth that can show an ID card indicating s/he works for some gov't agency, is a contractor for such an agency, or simply has some connection with an agency. Oh, and anybody in a uniform.

    Government’s data security standards: Data is accessible by anyone who knows the IPv4 address of the server housing the database. (Passwords, where implemented, must be no more than 4 digits, without a leading 0.) Profits realized by said access must be split 50/50 with said jobsworth from above paragraph that granted access to said database.

    Did I miss anything?

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      anyone showing a fake version of said ID card, barley distinguishable from the real thing or gaining access via an exploit in the virtulisation platform,

      or considering it's "Cloud" anyone obtaining a warrant under legislation in the cloud provider's country of origin, and recieiving said information from the "Cloud" provider.

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