Singapore contact-tracing app being evaluated for use in PHL

contact tracing app reuters - Singapore contact-tracing app being evaluated for use in PHLPhoto credit: Reuters

The government is evaluating a contact-tracing application from Singapore to aid its efforts to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

The department also said a task force has been organized to suppress the proliferation of false information on social media.

“The DICT, in coordination with the Department of Health (DoH) and other government agencies, is looking into Singapore-based app ‘TraceTogether’ as one of the potential tools in addressing the COVID-19 health crisis,” the department said in a statement Sunday.

“TraceTogether is a community-driven contact tracing app launched on March 20, 2020. The app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other app users who are within about a two to five-meter proximity. Records of encounters between app users will be stored locally in the users’ phones. If one app user tested positive for COVID-19, authorities will be able to identify other app users who were in close contact with the patient,” it added.

The DICT said Singapore Ambassador Ho Wei Hong has expressed his country’s willingness to provide technical assistance to the department.

Also Sunday, the DICT said it has “combined efforts with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to create ‘Task Force COVID Kontra Peke’ to combat the spread of false information on social media.”

“The DICT is ready and willing to lend its expertise to our law enforcement agencies to help in the fight against the spread of the virus, and the spread of disinformation. We cannot take fake news lightly, as it threatens peace and order as well as safety of our society, especially during this time of national emergency,” DICT Assistant Secretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic was quoted as saying.

The department said peddlers of false information “could be charged with violating Republic Act 10175 (Anti-Cybercrime Law), or under Section 6 (f) of Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act), whichever is applicable.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

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