First Batch of TraceTogether Tokens Given Out to Vulnerable Seniors

Kudos to Singapore Government to provide physical TraceTogether Token to those who might not have access to smartphones that can activate the TraceTogether app in the fight against COVID-19, although some may disagree with me.

The first batch of TraceTogether tokens is being distributed to vulnerable seniors from Sunday (from 28th June). Some think that the Government might use TraceTogether app or token to trace their location. This is not the way the TraceTogether functions. It does not capture GPS info. It captures nearby Bluetooth signals from TraceTogether app or tokens and uses its algorithm to determine the proximity of these devices.

The TraceTogether token is supposed to have a battery life of 6 to 9 months. Therefore, it does not need to be charged (if the situation is stable in 6 to 9 months’ time). Here are the key features of the TraceTogehter Token.

This is an excerpt from the Press Release.

Key features of the TraceTogether Token

Each TraceTogether Token will have a unique QR code and will be personalised for the recipient’s individual use only. Each Token works by exchanging Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether Tokens, or mobile phones running the TraceTogether app nearby. The data of close contacts will be encrypted and kept only in the Token for no more than 25 days. The user of the Token will be alerted by an authorised officer from the Ministry of Health (MOH) contact tracing team if he was detected to be a close contact of a person who was infected with COVID-19. This will enable appropriate precautions to be taken to keep the user and their loved ones safe. The Token has an estimated battery life of 6 to 9 months and does not require any charging.

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The Token has no GPS and therefore does not capture geolocation data. It captures only proximity data of other Tokens or TraceTogether apps via Bluetooth technology. The Token and the TraceTogether app are designed to interoperate with each other.

The Token has no Internet or cellular connectivity, so the encrypted data cannot be remotely extracted from the device either. The user is contacted for the data download only if he is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.

The TraceTogether Token is designed to be convenient, light and easy to use. It can fit easily into a bag or be hung from a lanyard. During this first distribution exercise, volunteers and staff distributing the Token will provide simple instructions on how to care for the device and what to do when the Token is faulty or misplaced. Users will also be reminded to carry
their Tokens with them whenever they leave their homes. More details on the Token’s features and usage can be found in Annex A.

This is the first version of the TraceTogether Token, and SNDGG will work with the tech community to improve on the design and functionality of the Token for subsequent batches.

You can read the full details here.

ANNEX A

Click on image to enlarge it.

In my opinion, I think the design of the token could be better. It uses a button battery and based on the block diagram of the design, it can be designed to be thinner (at least).

As this is the first design, I guess it is a rush work to get the components and materials to make it. Hopefully, future editions will be slicker. Or hopefully, there is no need for this device to track us at all.

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Stay safe, everyone!

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