A Reddit-user had some harsh words to say after it was revealed that the police had access to TraceTogether data under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in spite of the Government’s earlier assurances that the data was used solely for contact-tracing purposes to combat coronavirus transmission.
In their comment, they asked: “You breached our trust once (more like hundreds of times before but who’s counting) and expect us to TRUST YOU AGAIN that you will not misuse the data to meet police needs?”
The netizen continued saying that if there were investigations, the police should look into the matter “instead of using private citizen data as your crutch. We have solved dozens of murder investigations before the internet even existed”.
“Shame on you, and shame on the PAP for so happily taking our right to privacy as a matter of convenience”, he said.
Other netizens who commented on the post had mixed reactions, but many did feel that it was an issue that broke the trust of many Singaporeans.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 5), Dr Vivian Balakrishnan issued a clarification on the collection and use of TraceTogether app data after it became public knowledge from the previous day’s sitting that the data could be used for police investigations.
Dr Balakrishnan noted that under Section 20 of the CPC, the police have the power to order anyone to produce data for the purposes of a criminal investigation. He emphasised that TraceTogether data will be protected for all “normal use cases”, but that it is not exempt from the CPC.
He added that the police can only ask for access by requiring a person involved in or assisting in criminal investigations to produce his mobile phone or his TraceTogether token.
The clarification by Dr Balakrishnan came following a backlash from Singaporeans after it was announced on Monday (Jan 4) that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) can obtain TraceTogether data for criminal investigations. /TISG
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