Yesterday I wrote an article piece on how the Singapore Police Force is empowered to use the data obtained by TraceTogether for criminal investigations. And to no one’s surprise, it has caused quite the division among citizens.
Some are okay with it, while others see it as a breach of privacy.
It’s understandable and to be honest, both sides have valid points they are (vehemently in some cases) making.
Before we get into it, let’s be honest that we all saw this coming one way or another. A powerful tool that keeps track of your whereabouts; is like candy to any government entity.
They have been countless entries in the media about Big Brother watching over you at all times. It’s the basis of the excellent PC game Orwell, named after George Orwell, the prolific author of 1984.
Incidentally (or maybe not), that book also deals with themes we’re all talking about right now; government surveillance, data collection and other similar subjects.
As for the people who are unhappy about their TraceTogether data being used, it’s completely understandable. The initial and only purpose of the tool was to implement a way to handle the pandemic.
This point was emphasised upon by Vivian Balakrishnan last June when he mentioned that the data is only accessible by MOH for contact tracing.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case now, as the tables have turned and the people are not ready to accept it.
Out of nowhere, it’s now being said that TraceTogether was always planned to be a surveillance tool the Singapore Police Force can utilize in their investigations. Maybe it was to the government, but the fact most netizens are pissed off about is that that intention wasn’t made clear up front.
Perhaps there’d be lesser opposition to the usage if it had…but the damage’s been done now and nobody’s happy about it.
What makes it worse is that Vivian Balakrishnan admits that it is his fault for missing out on that fact.
All in all, it sure seems like the government now has a classic fiasco on their hands, but not all Singaporeans are against it.
While some consider that it could be useful in police investigations, others feel that there isn’t much data on TraceTogether to be worried about privacy.
Some of the arguments are valid in saying that there isn’t any useful data in the tool and that we have already been offering up our information in more ways than one through social media.
So what can geolocation from TraceTogether do, that you haven’t already done yourself? Remember, we’re all pretty much carrying a locator device with us at all times in the form of our phones.
As for the tool itself, if it does help along with a Police Investigation, then the reason for its usage is righteous, which should provide some comfort to people. In fact, it has already been used in a murder case, albeit, without anyone knowing until now.
Whether it’s right or wrong, the essence of the furor boils down to one simple element; control.
One side does not feel like the data on TraceTogether will impact them since they believe that the Singapore Government already has more ways than one to retrieve such information.
While the other side feels like the misapplication of TraceTogether other than what it was intended for, is just yet another way for the Singapore Government to assert more control.
So…who’s in the right? Is anybody in the right? Is there even a right and wrong to this? I don’t know but I feel that more discussion definitely is the right track to settle this issue amicably for all parties.
Or failing that, maybe we should take the advice of this uncle under consideration.
Good or bad, right or wrong…what do you think of TraceTogether being used as a tool to assist the police?