Singapore Covid tracing data available to police

Singapore Covid tracing data available to police
Source: AFP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Reversing earlier privacy assurances, Singapore has admitted data from its Covid tracing programme, which uses either a smartphone app or a bluetooth token, can also be accessed by police.

Singaporean officials had previously explicitly ruled out the data would be used for anything other than the virus tracking.

But on Monday, parliament was told it could also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”.

Close to 80% of residents are signed up to the Covid tracing programme, TraceTogether, which is used to check in to locations.

The voluntary take up increased after it was announced it would soon be needed to access anything from the supermarket to your place of work.

The TraceTogether programme also monitors who you have been in contact with.

If someone tests positive with the Covid-19, the data allows tracers to swiftly contact anyone that might have been infected. This sparked concerns over privacy – fears which have been echoed across the world as other countries rolled out their own tracing apps.

To encourage people to enroll in the programme, authorities in the country promised the data would never be used for any other purpose, saying “the data will never be accessed, unless the user tests positive for Covid-19 and is contacted by the contact tracing team”.

But Desmond Tan, Home Affairs Minister, told parliament on Monday that it can in fact also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”, adding that “otherwise, data from the programme is to be used only for contact tracing and for the purpose of fighting the Covid situation”.

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