Friday, December 9, 2022

Expert Answers All Your Concerns Over MySJ Trace, Says Data Kept Within Your Phone

NewsExpert Answers All Your Concerns Over MySJ Trace, Says Data Kept Within...

The MySejahtera Trace that was introduced recently by the Health Ministry (KKM) had sparked concerns over personal data breaches, with many refusing to use this new contact tracing function.

As an effort to bridge misunderstanding between users, KKM’s Dr Mahesh Appannan, also the head of data for the ministry’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, has taken to Twitter to answer the most frequently asked question by users.

Concerns over personal data breach

While this function pinpoint people’s location with both the geo-location and Bluetooth, many had concerns that it would expose their personal data and location, thus causing unintended harm to the user.

According to Dr Mahesh, the MySJ Trace does not upload or expose personal data, as it remains stored on individual mobile phones.

He explain that the user will only be asked to upload a 14-day history to enable notifications to people categorised as contacts, if the user is tested positive for Covid-19. He added that this needs explicit consent.

On contrary, if the user is negative for Covid-19, the data will not be uploaded, instead, it will be erased after 14 days.

“Without explicit consent, the interaction data kept in your phone will not be shared. This method is similarly used in the UK and Singapore.” he said, adding that there is no such thing as handshake or exchange of information when an interaction is recorded on the phone.

“For example, it is like a radio. You can hear the radio broadcast, but the broadcaster cannot access your data,” Dr Mahesh said.

Why are there interactions at home?

Some users are confused that their MySejahtera records interactions even though they are alone at home.

According to Dr Mahesh, this is because Bluetooth signals can reach a radius of 10m and their phone is picking up signals from their neighbour. However, this does not mean that the user is immediately categorised as a close contact.

He explained that the algorithm takes into account signal strength and this explains why interactions might differ even if a couple were to go out together.

“There are many factors that could interfere with the Bluetooth signal, for example, your body, other tools, electronic keys, etc.”

“Where your phone is placed is another factor – if you are holding it in your hand or leaving it in your pocket. Those residing in Singapore had asked about this when the app TraceTogether was first introduced there.” he explained.

Why do you still need to check in with QR?

Although this function technically allows the government to phase out the check-in and check-out, users are still required to use it as currently, there are those who do not turn on the MySJ Trace function.

“The combination of MySJ Trace and check-in feature allow automatic contact tracing while generating data for the ministry’s public health teams. During the endemic phase, self-regulation is vital,” he said.

With this, do you feel more confident is using the MySejahtera Trace function? Share your thoughts!

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