TraceTogether app security concerns slow app adoption

TraceTogether app security concerns slow app adoption

The adoption of the TraceTogether app and tokens stand at more than 60 percent, getting closer to the 70 percent target required to move to Phase 3.

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) said that the figure is “in the low 60 percent”, but did not give a specific number.

This figure was reflected in a YouGov survey conducted last week, which found that 23 percent of people still have not downloaded the TraceTogether app and 11 percent said they downloaded it but then deleted it. 

The survey of more than 1,000 Singaporeans found that awareness of the TraceTogether app has increased. Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they were aware of the app, compared to a similar survey done in April which found that 84 percent knew of the app.

And while privacy concerns about the TraceTogether app have diminished, worries about the app causing battery drain on mobile phones remain a reason for some people not to install it. 

Among those who have not downloaded the app, the top two reasons were that they did not want to turn on Bluetooth all the time, or the app takes up too much battery power. The third most popular reason was that they do not want to download more apps.

Privacy concerns about the TraceTogether App

One of the main reasons for not downloading the TraceTogether app initially – that users were worried that the app would collect their personal information – fell in importance. In last week’s survey, 28 percent cited it as a concern, compared to 45 percent in April. Those aged 25 to 34 were the most concerned about this.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore’s Business School said that it appears many users are now aware that their data are stored in the device and will not be shared unless there is an infection.
“I think there was some misunderstanding by many potential users at the onset on the collection and use of the data,” said Assoc Prof Loh, the director of the Centre for Governance, Institutions & Organizations.

SNDGG said that both the TraceTogether app and token are “privacy-preserving by design”. 

“No GPS location is collected, and the devices only exchange encrypted and anonymized Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether devices nearby,” said a spokesperson.

“The Bluetooth data is also automatically deleted after 25 days, and the data is only requested by the authorities when a user is confirmed to be a COVID-19 positive case.”

Source: Channel News Asia

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