A petition on the change.org platform saying ‘No’ to wearable devices for Covid-19 contact tracing has so far garnered over 32,000 signatures.
The petition was started on June 5 by a man named Wilson Low. It calls on Singaporeans to reject the advent and mandate of the compulsory usage of a wearable contact-tracing device.
The petitioner wrote: “Such a device, if proven to be successful in trials – and subsequently made available to everyone – would allow contact tracers to locate a person’s whereabouts based on their proximity to other persons’ phones, cell towers, or potentially their wearable devices themselves.
This will be done regardless of whether the person has a phone or not; regardless whether their phone is switched off or on; whether that person is within reception of a cell tower or not; and regardless of whether their phone has wifi or Bluetooth switched off or on”.
Mr Low added that the only thing that stops this device from potentially being allowed to track citizens’ movements are: if the wearable device runs out of power, if a counter-measure device that broadcasts a jamming signal masks the device’s whereabouts, or if the person chooses to live ‘off the grid’ in total isolation, away from others and outside of any smartphone/device effective range.
The petitioner alleged: “All that is stopping the Singapore Government from becoming a surveillance state is the advent and mandating the compulsory usage of such a wearable device”.
The petitioner added that they rejected the development of the contact tracing device. “We view its advent and subsequent implementation with great suspicion and indignation”, he wrote.
He added that they “condemn the device’s implementation as blatant infringements upon our rights to privacy, personal space, and freedom of movement”.
The petition was signed by more than 32,000 people in three days. Many who signed the petition added that they found it restrictive and encroaching into their personal space and privacy.
Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative, Vivian Balakrishnan, announced the proposal on June 5. He cited poor inter-operability of the existing Trace Together smartphone app across various brands of smartphones as well as the Government’s subsequent non-compulsory usage stance as reasons for developing a wearable device.
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