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Singapore clears police access to personal data from COVID-19 tracking app in the country


Singapore police now have access to data on the situation of COVID-19 in the country, for criminal investigations. That includes data from the government-controlled disease tracking app, TraceTogether. The information is from Singapore’s minister of internal affairs, Desmond Tan.

TraceTogether uses a Bluetooth technology called BlueTrace, developed by the Singapore IT agency, to track people who passed by someone diagnosed with COVID-19. The application became mandatory in the country this year.

Apps like TraceTogether, which track people’s geolocation and the possible contacts they made, are already a reality in countries like China and South Korea. However, they can be a threat to personal privacy, since the state has access, in real time, the location of each citizen.

According to the minister, the Singapore police’s access to data on this application is guaranteed by the Criminal Procedure Code and the corporation can access any data that is necessary for criminal investigations.

The minister also guarantees that although he has granted access to the police, Strict measures have been imposed to protect this personal data. “The Government is the guardian of the data [sobre a COVID-19 no país] presented by individuals and strict measures were put in place to safeguard this personal data “, he says.

“Examples of these measures include allow only authorized officers to access data, using this data only for authorized purposes and storing it on secure platforms ”, explains the minister.

According to Channel New Asia, after the minister’s statement, the app changed its privacy policy, which previously stated that the data would only be used for tracking contacts. Now, “TraceTogether data can be used in circumstances where the security and protection of the citizen is or has been affected”.

“The Singapore Police Force has authority under the Criminal Procedure Code to obtain any data, including TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations,” says the updated privacy policy.

Personal privacy

Data on COVID-19 is extremely delicate and should be stored with extreme care, as it can be very valuable for companies and cybercriminals.

Minister Tan recalls that public officials who intentionally reveal personal data without authorization, or misuse that data can be imprisoned for two years, or fined up to C $ 5,000 (Singapore dollar), almost R $ 20,000.

“Authorized police officers can invoke the powers of the Criminal Procedure Code … to obtain this data for the purposes of criminal investigation and for the protection and safety of our citizens, but otherwise, TraceTogether data should only be used for contact tracking and with the purpose of combating the situation COVID-19 ”, concludes the minister.

Source: CNA.

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