TraceTogether vs SafeEntry – What’s The Difference?

TraceTogether vs SafeEntry

If you want to enter a venue in Singapore, you are required to check in via SafeEntry.

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However, you may already own the TraceTogether App and Token.

So why do you need to do SafeEntry when you are already using TraceTogether?

In fact, they are actually 2 separate technologies!

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between them:

The difference between TraceTogether and SafeEntry

TraceTogether helps to track the people that you have been in close contact with when you were infectious. However, TraceTogether does not track your location data. This is where SafeEntry comes in, as it identifies the locations that you previously visited to identify potential clusters.

Both technologies serve a different purpose, and they need to work together to aid MOH in contact tracing!

Here is an explanation of both technologies:

Technology used

TraceTogether uses Bluetooth proximity data to identify who you’ve been in close contact with.

When you come into contact with another person with TraceTogether device, both devices will log this interaction.

This data is decentralised, meaning that the data is only stored in your device. Your data will not be transmitted to a centralised entity!

This decentralisation of data is similar to how blockchain technology works.

This ensures that all the data that is being collected in your device remains private. Your data will only be accessed when MOH requires it for contact tracing purposes.

In such scenarios, you will need to either:

1. Upload your TraceTogether history (only for the App)
2. Hand over your TraceTogether Token for the authorities to access the data

SafeEntry uses QR technology

If you need to check into a venue, you are required to scan a QR code that has been tagged to that particular venue.

Alternatively, you can present your TraceTogether token when you want to check in, so that the venue can scan the QR code on your token.

SafeEntry uses the QR technology to make it easier for you to check into a venue.

Data being tracked

TraceTogether only tracks the proximity data of your TraceTogether device with other devices. This is done via Bluetooth technology.

TraceTogether does not track your location data!

Each TraceTogether device has a unique code that is tagged to the person who owns it.

In this way, TraceTogether can help to identify who you were in contact with, at a specific time.

SafeEntry tracks the places that you’ve visited

When you use SafeEntry to check into a venue, you are indicating that you have visited that location at that specific time.

This helps the authorities to identify the history of the places you’ve visited when you were infectious with COVID-19.

The main purpose of SafeEntry is to help a COVID-19 case recall the places he/she visited.

This will help to speed up the contact tracing process

However, this does not mean that you were a close contact of the person who was infectious!

This is because MOH cannot use SafeEntry alone to determine if you were a close contact. They can only do so with the TraceTogether data.

Furthermore, your SafeEntry data can only be accessed by authorised public officers. There are stringent measures to ensure that your personal data is not being misused too!

This is similar to how insurance companies can’t have direct access to your medical records.

Purpose of each technology

TraceTogether is used to determine who you have been in close contact with. This helps to identify these contacts so that appropriate contact tracing can be done immediately.

However, TraceTogether does not track your location data. This means that it cannot tell the locations that you’ve visited.

SafeEntry tracks the venues that you have visited

Since TraceTogether cannot track your location, SafeEntry helps to keep a record of the locations that you’ve visited.

When you scan the SafeEntry QR code, you are indicating that you’ve checked into that specific location.

This helps MOH to determine a possible cluster. For example, there may be many COVID-19 cases who were in the same location.

In this scenario, MOH will declare that location to be a cluster, and will start to carry out the necessary contact tracing.

Requirement when visiting locations

Did you know that TraceTogether is not compulsory for most people when you go out of your house?

TraceTogether is only compulsory if you are:

1. Staying in a dormitory (for foreign workers)
2. Work Permit or S Pass holders who work in the construction, marine or process sectors

If you are intending to go out for a walk or another activity, it is not compulsory for you to use TraceTogether.

However, it is still strongly encouraged for you to do so!

SafeEntry is compulsory if you want to enter a venue

In contrast, SafeEntry is compulsory if you want to enter a certain venue in Singapore.

When you enter a venue, you will have to either:

1. Scan the SafeEntry QR code using your TraceTogether app
2. Present the QR code on your TraceTogether token to be scanned
3. Bring either your TraceTogether app or token within 25cm of the SafeEntry Gateway

If you do not check into the venue via SafeEntry, you will not be able to enter that location!

You will need to use the TraceTogether app or token for TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE)

Before 17 May 2021, you could still scan your NRIC, or use the SingPass app to check into a venue.

However, with the roll-out of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry, you can no longer do so!

Instead, you can only check into a location via SafeEntry using either your TraceTogether app or token.

As such, TraceTogether is compulsory if you want to enter venues that have the TT-only SE check in method!

Does TraceTogether replace SafeEntry?

TraceTogether does not replace SafeEntry as they collect different types of data. TraceTogether tracks the Bluetooth proximity data to identify who you were in close contact with. Meanwhile, SafeEntry tracks the venues that you have checked into.

Conclusion

Both TraceTogether and SafeEntry collect different types of data. As such, they need to work together to help MOH with their contact tracing efforts.

For example, TraceTogether only knows the people who you’ve come into contact with. However, it cannot tell the authorities the location that you’ve been where you were in contact with these people.

This is because TraceTogether cannot track your location!

In contrast, SafeEntry can only tell the places that you’ve been to previously. It cannot tell if you were in contact with a COVID-19 case or not.

You may have checked into the same shopping mall as a COVID-19 case. Without TraceTogether, it is uncertain whether you came into contact with the person.

You may have received an SMS like this if you were in the same location as a possible COVID-19 case.

SafeEntry Possible Contact With COVID 19 Case 1

However without TraceTogether, you cannot be sure whether you were in close contact with the case!

When both of these technologies work together, it helps to identify:

1. Who you’ve come into contact with
2. The locations you visited if you were infectious

This helps to improve the speed of MOH’s contact tracing activities. Both technologies have reduced the contact tracing process from 4 days to less than 2 days!


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Gideon

Blogging is my newfound passion, and I want to solve everyday problems you may have with the content I create.

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