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Singapore’s Move to Facilitate Contact Tracing Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic Rejected by Its Residents


While each country is attempting to stymie the outbreak of the disastrous coronavirus in different ways, Singapore attempted the same perhaps it wasn't a plan well thought off as the country attempted to come up with an inventive and a profoundly technological solution to battle the everyday rising cases of the virus.

Their arrangement included developing a wearable device that would be issued to each resident as an approach to facilitate contact tracing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the move, unfortunately, wasn't well-received by the citizens as it started an open objection with respect to their worries about their privacy.

An online petition titled “Singapore says 'No' to wearable devices for COVID-19 contact tracing", has thus to date, garnered in excess of 17,500 signatures.

The online petition describes the usage of such devices as "conspicuous encroachments upon our privileges to protection, individual space, and opportunity of development".

In words of Wilson Low, who started the petition on June 5, "All that is stopping the Singapore government from becoming a surveillance state is the advent and mandating the compulsory usage of such a wearable device. What comes next would be laws that state these devices must not be turned off [or] remain on a person at all times -- thus, sealing our fate as a police state.”

Singapore's Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, said during a parliament session Friday that while the government had introduced a contact tracing app earlier, TraceTogether, a wearable device was essential as it would not rely upon somebody possessing a smartphone.

His team however is developing and would “soon roll out a portable wearable device" keeping in mind the existing issues with the application, which didn't function well on Apple devices as the iOS operating system would suspend Bluetooth scanning when the app was running in the background.

He said that if the devices are proved to work viably, then they may be issued to each resident in Singapore, yet didn't expressly say that the government would make it obligatory for everybody to utilize it.

Wilson, however, was very determined upon proving his point as he wrote, “Even if we're not, we recognize the potential creation of a two-tiered society -- those who wear the devices versus [those] do who do not -- therein, and an open pass to engage in yet another form of prejudice and societal stratification.”

Later including, "The only thing that stops this device from potentially being allowed to track citizens' movements 24 by 7 are: if the wearable device runs out of power; if a counter-measure device that broadcasts a jamming signal masking the device's whereabouts; or if the person chooses to live 'off the grid' in total isolation, away from others and outside of any smartphone or device effective range.”

Numerous different residents also came to his support as they very openly expressed their concerns with respect to the potential execution of wearable devices, further taking to Balakrishnan's Facebook page to ask the legislature against taking this course.

One user Ian Chionh went so far as to accusing the government of utilizing the coronavirus as "an excuse" to put a tracking device on all residents on Facebook.

Wilson had likewise referenced something similar to these worries adding that "The government looks to the COVID-19 pandemic as the perfect excuse to realize what it has always envisioned for us, this country's populace: to surveil us with impunity, to track us without any technological inhibitions, and maintain a form of movement monitoring on each of us at all times and places. And to do so by decreeing it compulsory for all law-abiding persons to become 'recipients'."

Aside from TraceTogether, the Singapore government utilizes an advanced digital check-in tool, SafeEntry, to facilitate its contact tracing efforts.

The system gathers visitors' very own data, either through QR codes or barcode scans whenever they enter a venue, like supermarkets and workplaces. Information gathered through SafeEntry is retained for 25 days, just like TraceTogether's data retention policy.

The TraceTogether app was updated just the previous week to incorporate the registration of passports numbers for travelers visiting Singapore and barcode scans to support SafeEntry.

The nation however has begun with easing the restrictions, initially set up to check the spread of the virus - in phases as more and more businesses wish to resume with their operations over the following month.

Massive HIV Data Leak; No Closure Yet!






Singapore: Finally the authorities have come up with some background details as to the circumstances that led to 14,200 people’s personal details along with their HIV status leakage.

The lingering questions, ever since the data was compromised have been intriguing. Such as, the reason behind not making it public in May 2016 when it was known that the information was in wrong hands?

According to a recent media briefing the Permanent Secretary of Health, cited that the ministry of health did wasn’t sure as to the whether the news’ being public was in the interest of the citizens.

They did mention though that they will take conservative measures and better approaches now that they know the persons in registry have concerns regarding a public announcement.


It’s disturbing that years after the incident took place no one knows why the data still remained with the unauthorized people.



According to sources, the Ministry of Health had lodged a police report in May 2016 after finding out that Mikhy Farrerra Brochez was in custody of the leaked information from the HIV registry.

After, the properties owned by Brochez and his partner Ler Teck Siang were searched by the police officials and all pertinent material found was seized.

Even after that Brochez managed to keep some information back and in turn leaked it later on. The Permanent Secretary of Health voiced that the police should have had a better search.

It was later in May 2018 when the people whose information as in the “unauthorized” hands were informed a\bout the entire leakage scenario.

In May 2018 the police found out that Brochez had managed to hold some records back which was a month after Brochez completed serving his jail sentence for other offenses and was deported from Singapore.

There is no way of knowing though, that how many people were informed that their persona details were in wrong hands.

MOH lodged a police report and had contacted the concerned individuals. The number of people was very small according to PSH Mr. Chan.


Where Brochez was deported to is still under wraps and the immigration department couldn’t share the details due to confidentiality concerns.

He is known to have arrived in the Kentucky state of the US. There’s no knowing if he’s being monitored, the sources said.

He had called at his mother’s house despite being warned to stay away and that’s when she informed the police about it.

After he refused to leave he was taken into custody and was charged. He has been asked to return to the district to face criminal trespass.

The Singapore police force is reportedly taking help of their foreign counterpart but didn’t mention which organizations or countries.

Brochez’s partner was charged with the Official Secrets Act for “failing to retain the possession of a thumb drive” containing data from the leak but was stood down and there is no answer as to why that happened.



According to Article 35(8) the AG gets a wide discretion as public prosecutor in the conduct of criminal proceedings. The prosecution “is not required to give reasons for why they decide to proceed with certain charges and not others”.

Another question that has yet to be addressed is how was the access to the confidential information disabled? We do know that the MOH had worked with “relevant parties” to disable the access.


Stolen information of such sorts is uploaded on various hack forums and file sharing sites such as “Pastebin” and “Mega” and is commonly hosted on web servers overseas.

If taking down a web domain. It could be done on a registrar level. Domain registrars are company people who create websites. But taking down a website can’t totally solve the problem.


Because once, data is on the dark web it’s almost irretrievable. As it could be copied or distributed across quite easily.


Absolutely different from the internet the commoners use, the Dark Web is “unregulated and decentralized and has no point of authority or disabling access to anything.

Massive HIV Data Leak: Thousands of Detailed Records Compromised.












In a recent major data leak in Singapore, thousands of HIV positive people’s records were compromised.


One of the victims of this leak was informed via a phone call that her record was out in the open along with those of approx. 14,000 others.

This enormous leak came off as really shocking to people as many of them were reluctant to let the fact surface in outer world.

The main target which has emerged in this database leakage incident is the Singaporean media.

The government said that a local doctor who had an American partner, who had access to all the records in question, is the main person who’s at fault.

Reportedly, according to the authorities the leak has been contained but an extreme emotional damage has been caused to the HIV infected.

In Singapore, as mandated by the law, the aforementioned victim’s HIV status was added to the national database.

The HIV registry was set up in 1985 by the ministry of health to keep a check on the infection and potential cases’ status.

The previously mentioned database is the one which got compromised accompanied by the names and addresses of more than 14,000 people.

According to the sources the name of the American partner has been reported to be as, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez. The data and the access to the registry had been wrested from his Singaporean doctor partner.

Mikhy couldn’t work in Singapore because as the Singaporean law states so. But he got convicted of fraud because he used someone else’s blood to pass a mandatory HIV test.

According to Mikhy there is more to the story of the leakage and it’s not just him who’s behind it all. He also said that he had contracted HIV in prison and that he was denied medication.

He also blamed Singapore for using the HIV database for keeping track of gay men in the country because same-sex sex there is illegal.

To this accusation Singaporean authorities have replied negatively and cited that the statement is absolutely untrue.

Singapore’s health minister is working with the authorities of the US regarding the case.
Earlier there was a total ban on people with HIV entering the borders of Singapore, which got lifted in 2015.

But the people who have married Singaporean citizens or have permanent residencies in the country could dodge it.

This leak has come as a shock as well as emotionally degrading. This chaotic circumstance has made the citizens question the way records are kept in security.

One of the senior doctors who have been working on safeguarding the interests of the HIV patients in Singapore said that many implementations exist which restrict the doctors from accessing such records.

This incident has wreaked a lot of emotional havoc to people who are infected and whose names are in those compromised records.

The victims aren’t even sure that whether the leak has actually been contained or not.

This leaked information could ruin a lot of lives and careers for the infected.

The victims are seriously concerned about the diaspora of the detailed information and the compromised records.