BlueTrace is the technology that underpins TraceTogether, the Bluetooth-powered contact tracing application developed by the Singaporean government.
TraceTogether is a mobile application developed to support existing Singapore's nationwide efforts to combat COVID-19, by enabling community-driven contact tracing.
TraceTogether is built on the BlueTrace protocol, designed by the Government Digital Services team at Government Technology Agency of Singapore. Mobile apps and wearables (in the future) that deploy the BlueTrace protocol are able to blend decentralised and centralised models of contact tracing. The collection and logging of encounter/proximity data between devices that implement BlueTrace is done in a peer-to-peer, decentralised fashion, to preserve privacy. At the same time, the analysis and the provision of epidemic control guidance is done centrally by a trusted public health authority, committed to driving adoption. Sovereignty is respected through a federated model among a network of participating countries and public health authorities.
User privacy is an essential aspect of contact tracing. We cannot over-stress the importance of this. Although we cannot provide specific guidance, there are a number of useful tools to review when considering contact tracing solutions. In no particular order: the Safra Centre at Harvard University has some good resources, there’s a useful checklist of considerations here, and MIT has undertaken extensive work in this area. Privacy International is also exploring different technologies – including Bluetooth (used in many contact tracing solutions). The developers of Singapore’s contact tracing solution also highlight that automated contact tracing is not a panacea.