Remember how people in Singapore complained about the government trying to tag their own citizens?
Well, they got it wrong.
For one, the device allegedly does not have tracking functions;
And two, that device, known as the TraceTogether token, is different from this new device.
On 3 Aug 2020, it was announced that selected people travelling into Singapore will be tagged with an electronic monitoring device.
From the what, the who and the where; here are 10 facts about the tracking device that people on SHN have to wear if they don’t serve SHN in facilities.
1. This One Track
For those who get confused between the tracker that this article is talking about and the contact-tracing device, they’re totally different.
The contact-tracing device doesn’t track location, which you can read all about here.
The electronic monitoring device, on the other hand, tracks the wearer’s location at all times.
In fact, it operates as an electronic chain, which we’ll go into further down the article; let’s just say that if anyone wants to protest about tracking and privacy, this would probably be the device to go after.
2. Who Is It For?
Okay, so we are the lucky ones getting tagged?
From 10 Aug 2020 onwards, travellers who enter Singapore and serve their mandatory Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) outside dedicated facilities will be equipped with this device.
They include citizens, PRs, long-term pass holders, work pass holders, their dependants and dogs.
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Okay, I’m kidding, their dogs don’t have to be tagged, along with children who are 12 years old and below.
3. Dedicated Facilities
In case you forgot, dedicated facilities for SHN is a collaboration worked out between the Singapore government and hotel operators.
Other than providing hotel rooms for people on SHN, the hotels also have transportation from the airport to their premises.
People on SHN have a room and toilet all to themselves. Food will also be sent to them throughout their stay.
Here’s an example of an SHN in at hotel:
Staff are also trained to keep themselves safe and hotels have proper security arrangements, infection controls and precautions.
So any persons who serve their SHN out of these dedicated facilities mentioned above like their own homes (for Singapore/PR/long-term pass holders) or hotels at their own costs, will be tagged.
Currently, only travellers from selected countries are allowed to serve their SHN outside of dedicated facilities (as of 17 Jun 2020):
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- Mainland China
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
4. How the Device Works
Okay, so remember at #1, we say the device works as an electronic chain?
Here’s how it works.
The eligible travellers will have to wear the device, which will be issued at the checkpoints, throughout their 14-day stay.
Once they reached their place of residence, they’ll have to turn it on.
The moment it’s on, the device will use a combination of Bluetooth and 4G network to determine if the person wearing it is at their place of residence.
Also, don’t think you can be like the Bak Kut Teh lover and turn it on at home after you’ve gone out for one last hurrah.
The authorities will be keeping an eye on you and if you didn’t turn it on at the expected timing, they’ll contact you to find out why.
5. Think Battle Royale
If you remember Battle Royale and the explosive collars, the device will remind you of them except they dont’, umm, explode.
- Tamper with the device? The authorities will be alerted.
- Attempt to leave your place of residence? The authorities will be alerted.
- Try to remove the device? The authorities will be alerted.
- Received notifications and didn’t reply in time? The authorities will, of course, be alerted.
The best way to avert all these pesky consequences is to just stay home and watch Netflix.
Yes, tough, I know.
So what happens if you’re caught breaking the rules?
Anyone who is caught tampering with the device can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.
For foreigners, ICA and MOM can also choose to revoke or shorten their passes.
7. One-Time Use
You’ll be thinking, wah, this device must be expensive leh.
Well, it’s probably expensive, but not expensive enough to be used multiple times.
According to the Straits Times report, the device can be deactivated and thrown away, or returned according to the instructions given by the relevant agencies.
Seeing as how people are already protesting shared pens during GE2020, this move to make the tracking device a one-time use is probably a wise move.
*Waits for an online petition to be started by SJW environmentalists*
8. The Device Saves The Government A Lot Of Resources
Here’s how it works for SHN without the device:
- Video calls to chat with the person on SHN
- House visits to make sure they are at home
- Sending text messages to check on them
So on average, you’ll need at least one person to attend to every SHN-er.
But with the tracking device, they don’t have to do as much anymore to keep these people home.
9. Privacy Not Invaded
Then the question of privacy pops up: Will I see homemade adult videos of me and my wife getting it on online since, you know, I’m wearing it every second of the day?
The answer is, no.
According to the authorities, the devices do not store personal data, nor do they record video or audio information.
In addition, they have end-to-end encryption to ensure the security of your data transmission and ensure that only a limited number of people have access to the information.
“Only Government officials authorised by the respective authorities will have access to the data for the purposes of monitoring and investigation.”
So if you have adult videos floating around, chances are, you have to start suspecting your other half for any “secret recordings”.
10. Why So Serious?
In case you’re unaware, Singapore is awaiting the second wave of outbreak, but is already experiencing the third wave of imported Covid-19 cases.
The first wave were travellers from Wuhan back when we thought a circuit breaker was a box in our homes.
The second wave was in Mar 2020 where cases came from countries like Europe and the US.
Then, imported cases fell to zero after Singapore closed off its borders and selected workplaces.
But now, we’re experiencing the third wave after Singapore gradually eased its border controls again after 19 Jun 2020.
As of 29 Jul 2020, Singapore has reported 692 imported Covid-19 cases.
In the third wave, the imported cases were reportedly from 9 different countries; out of which, more than half the “third wave” of imported cases were from India.
Experts have agreed that a quarantine period was the “best way” to deal with import cases, which is probably why they want to make sure that people don’t disobey SHN.
If you’ve been reading our daily reports, you’ll know that the imported cases being reported now is of people who are still serving SHN since they reached Singapore.
That’s why they’re going the tracking route for travellers.
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