October 21, 2020

Volume X, Number 295


October 21, 2020

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Doctor, How Are We Tracking? China, South Korea, Singapore And Thailand Using Smart Phone Applications To Halt The Spread Of Corona Virus

A slew of Asian countries have begun to use telecommunications networks, Smart Phone Applications and messaging services to assign, inform, track and/or monitor individuals which may have contracted COVID-19, including those which are required to undertake a process of self-isolation, according to articles from WiredChannel News Asia and Bangkok Post.

In China, apps such as WeChat and AliPay have been utilised to assign individuals health codes, referred to as colour codes, to determine whether they should undertake a process of self-isolation. According to the NY Times a green code enables its holder to move about unrestricted, a yellow code asks the individual to stay home for seven days whilst a red code requires a two-week quarantine. In South Korea, government authorities have sent out texts detailing the movements of specific people infected with COVID in addition to using a smartphone app to ensure people who are required to self-isolate are staying home.

Similarly, the “SydeKick for ThaiFightCOVID” application in Thailand, a requirement imposed on individuals travelling from high-risk countries to download on entry, enables the government to monitor the daily behaviour of at-risk groups and assists in determining whether specific individuals are detaining themselves at home in accordance with the self-isolation period. Alternatively, the use of the “TraceTogether” application in Singapore enables individuals to voluntarily and proactively help by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals to detect other users who are in close proximity, thereby enabling contact tracers to swiftly inform users who are close contacts of COVID cases.

However, the use of such technology forms has not been without controversy. In particular, in China there has been evidence building that the use of health codes enables the relevant apps to feed locational data back to government authorities, whilst in South Korea, the use of texting services has stirred up public shaming and rumor-mongering. All we can hope is that, even in the turmoil the world is currently experiencing, objectives of public safety through social controls are balanced against the interests of individuals to preserve their privacy.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 85



About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates

Mr. Andersen is a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on commercial, technology and sourcing projects. He has advised on large scale outsourcing projects, technology agreements for both vendors and customers, corporate support, privacy and telecommunications regulatory work. He has acted for government departments, large listed companies, telecommunications companies and technology suppliers.

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...

Max Evans Lawyer technology matters, Software as a Service Agreements SaaS Sydney

Mr. Evans is a corporate and transactional lawyer with a focus on information technology and outsourcing. He provides assistance on a broad range of technology matters, including Software as a Service Agreements (SaaS), terms and conditions for software products and platforms as well as software procurement and outsourcing projects. Mr. Evans also provides assistance with technology and privacy aspects of mergers and acquisitions transactions.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Mr. Evans worked in the insolvency and bankruptcy practice of...