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Century of Data

Privacy in a pandemic? Contact-tracing apps gain global popularity

60 governments struggle to convince citizens to take part

Commuters wait for a transport to leave the Woodlands Causeway across to Singapore from Johor, Malaysia. Contract-tracing apps using Bluetooth have been in use in Singapore since March.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Governments are trying to strike a delicate balance between public safety and privacy in an attempt to convince citizens to embrace contract-tracing apps, which have gained popularity as a tool for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

More than 60 countries and regions have introduced the apps in their fight against the pandemic, although the penetration rate -- or percentage of the population using the tech -- remains below 50% in many places, leaving their effectiveness in question.

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