IATF over StaySafe App: Urging Filipinos to Use It Over Pandemic

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In an effort to integrate automated contact tracing data eight months after the pandemic, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) also allows national government departments and local government units to use StaySafe.ph, the government’s official contact tracing software.

In its battle against the coronavirus, the government policy-making body also urges private organizations to use StaySafe.ph and other touch tracing applications to link their programs with the app built by PLDT-backed Multisys Technologies Corp.

At present, the country’s automated contact tracing activities are not coordinated, with municipal municipalities and private establishments usually employing their own contact tracing schemes that are not incorporated into government systems.

The latest issuance of the IATF intends to amend the requirement that all data obtained by automated contact tracing applications used by COVID-19 health facilities approved by the Department of Health, temporary care and control facilities, clinics, offices, transport vehicles and hubs, and local government units be sent to centralized contact tracing data.

Once contact tracing data is centralized, it will then be linked to the COVID Kaya monitoring and contact tracing network or the COVID-19 document registry system of the health department. However, StaySafe.ph has some questions about its usefulness as a touch tracing software and data protection.

Eliseo Rio, former Undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, cautioned the government against relying heavily on the contact tracing software because it is allegedly not fitted with the requisite functionality to reach millions of Filipinos. Even with Multisys and the health department reaching an arrangement to guarantee that StaySafe.ph can comply with data protection, confidentiality and cybersecurity rules, Malacañang also alleviated privacy issues.

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