I was planning some travel and saw that Malaysia recently has implemented a new country entry policy whereby one is required to download a government app on one’s phone.
It’s completely shocking and I see nowhere any information as to what would happen if a passenger would show up and say “I don’t have a mobile phone”.
What do you know about that and what are ways to deal with this, should you need to travel to such a place?
I personally opt out of traveling to this country altogether. But next week I’m going to Singapore for 2 days and worry they’re going to pull a similar trick oit of their sleeve. I’m honestly thinking about leaving my phone at home, but I’ll need it for banking OTP for business (damnit! )
According to the app’s listing in the Apple App Store: “MySejahtera is an application developed by the Government of Malaysia to assist in managing the COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. It allows users to perform health self-assessment on themselves and their family members and to monitor their health progress throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. MySejahtera also enables the Ministry of Health of Malaysia (MOH) to monitor users’ health conditions as well as contact tracing process so they can take immediate actions in providing the treatments required.”
If traveling to a destination that requires installation of such an app, I would comply but delete the app as soon as it’s no longer needed. I would also consider using a dedicated “travel phone” and performing a factory reset afterwards.
I think this type of thing is just going to become more common, sadly.
The insistence that everyone have a phone is ridiculous. I just got a mobile phone 2 years ago, not because I wanted one, but because everyone was demanding a mobile number for basic services and couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that some people don’t have a parasitic relationship with tech.
But I caved, and have become parasitized.
Good advice from @Acolyte. Just reminded me to look at an app to fake GPS on for an app required for work. The location is not required once your access the app as a guest. After loading the app it works offline…
Voting with your feet is a concept that makes sense here. Choosing not to go there and spend time and money elsewhere will make a huge impact.
In the Unites States there is a small 550 million or so ear marked for a SMART city. It is a government program that if you opt in your life is more convenient you may not have to pay a toll or you will get free WiFi, which is how they suck you in.
Just like phones your paying for them to steal from you.
Edit to share app that works for me.
Fake Traveler (Fake your location)
Try using a separate phone profile for that app if possible.
An old phone or a cheap used one would do the trick as well.
If they only require the app to be installed you can download it then cut off it’s internet access.
You could also consider taking two phones. Your main phone would be for everything you need to have on you like for banking and so on. Your other phone could be the one that has the app installed. Could be better than just having a separate user account on your Android phone if you really want to make sure you’re not dealing with any remnants of the software (depends on your threat model).
Without any more context than what you’ve said, I think it’s unlikely that they would ask you to download the app on every phone you own. If they do, it could be time to elevate your threat level in the moment. You may want a backup plan just in case.