Man Extracts Data from His TraceTogether App & Found Some Very Interesting Details

The Singapore government is doing everything it can to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes social distancing measures, tightening border controls, and contact tracing.

And of course, not to mention the ‘lockdown measures‘ that’s not a lockdown.

And we’re so kiasu about contact tracing that we even created a freaking app that can detect other users with the app to support the ongoing contact tracing efforts.

Image: YouTube (TraceTogether)

About one million people here have downloaded the TraceTogether app so far, but National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that more need to come on board for it to be truly effective.

In the meantime, one Singaporean extracted the data from his TraceTogether app and found some rather interesting details.

Man Extracts Data from His TraceTogether App 

Aptly called JustQueueOnly, the Reddit user shared his findings on the discussion site along with visual representations of his data.

Image: Reddit

In his post, the user said he analyzed his data over one week to check if the app was working for him.

“Without any numbers shown on the app, its basically saying “trust me, I’m running in the background” which I understand for privacy reasons might be ideal, but it doesn’t give users sufficient feedback about their usage,” he said.

In case you don’t know, the app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other users of the app who are in close proximity.

The current MOH guidelines define close contact as two metres apart or up to five metres, for 30 minutes.

The user, however, didn’t have as many pings as one might expect, because he had been working from home since March and only went out for food and errands – just a short distance away.

The only time where there was a huge spike in contact was when he took public transport for one of those trips:

Image: Reddit

He did say, however, that he’s surprised by how many contact sessions he’s had “just by going to my neighborhood hawker center to tapao food.”

This shows that we often don’t realise how close we are to other people when we’re carrying out our daily errands.

Or maybe he didn’t do his safe-distancing measures well. Hard to break a habit, you know.

He also found three interesting observations:

1. Few iPhone contact sessions

The user said he had almost no iPhone contact sessions; they may have accounted for 5.9% of his sessions but each one had just 1 single ping, resulting in just 0.6% of all pings.

Image: Reddit

There could be a few explanations for this.

One is that iPhone users, like the user said, have to keep the app open all the time for it to work.

Second, is that iPhones have lost out to its better, sexier counterpart, Android, and more people simply have Andriod phones.

Or the third, and the most likely, is that iPhone users are inconsiderate people who have not downloaded the app yet.


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(I’m just joking of course)

(Or am I?)

2. Extremely short contact sessions

The user also discovered that the vast majority of his contact sessions had fewer than 10 pings, which means that he mostly had very short contact sessions.

“I observed most pings sharing the same session to occur continually every 1-4s until they are out of range which I guess I can consider ‘transient contact’?” he said.

3. More contact with Samsung users

The user also found that most of the strangers he had come into contact with had Samsung phones.


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Does this mean that Samsung is more popular than the iPhone?

Or does it mean that Samsung users are better human beings? No one can say for sure.

Tim Cook: I can 

Either way, these findings are not what you would have expected, that’s for sure.

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Privacy Concerns

If you’ve not downloaded the app yet, don’t worry, this is not FaceApp, your privacy is protected.


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Firstly, no personal particulars other than your phone number is needed for verification.

Furthermore, all logs will be stored locally on your phone in an encrypted form for 21 days, which covers the incubation period of the virus. These logs only contain a set of cryptographically generated temporary IDs, not your location data.

MOH will only take these logs under your authorisation if you come into close contact with any reported Covid-19 case.

If you did not come into close contact with any reported Covid-19 cases, TraceTogether data that are older than 21 days will automatically be deleted. So, there’s nothing to worry about.

Image: Giphy

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s do our part for our country and download the app now!

And oh, while you download the app, maybe you can also download the Goody Feed app?


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