Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Singapore Police Can Access Data In COVID-19 Contact Tracing Tag And App

Last June, Singapore showed what its COVID-19 contact tracing tag looked like. And for the most part, it’s been instrumental in getting the country’s number of new cases under control. But it has been revealed that the data within them can be accessed by the country’s police to assist in criminal investigations.

The revelation came via Singapore’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Desmond Tan. This is in contrast to the privacy statement of TraceTogether program, which initially stated that it will be used only for contact tracing purposes. The page in question has since been updated to mention that police officers have request the data under the Criminal Procedure Code.

Tan also said that the Singaporean government is the “custodian of the TraceTogether data”, and that “stringent measures are put in place to safeguard this personal data”. He also quotes the penalty for government officials misusing the data, which is a fine of up to SGD5000 (~RM15223) or jail time of up to two years.

On one hand, this revelation didn’t exactly come in good taste. This is especially considering the way things were framed initially. But on the flip side, This should be something that is to be expected with anything that collects data, even if that data is meant to be something innocuous, or even beneficial.

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