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PSP’s Harish Pillay says he feels let down on the issue of TraceTogether’s data privacy

Mr Pillay suggested that a bill be introduced specifically exempting Trace Together data from the CPC only for the duration of the pandemic

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Writing in a blogpost on Wednesday (Jan 6) on the Government’s TraceTogether App and TraceTogether Token, Harish Pillay said: “despite Vivian’s assurances, I feel I was let down”.

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s candidate for Tanjong Pagar cited Vivian Balakrishnan’s statement on TraceTogether app data used under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and expressed his disappointment.

“There was trust asked for at the start of the program in March 2020 and many people, like me, felt that it was clear and transparent and was supportive. I was invited on many webinars around the world to talk about how TT’s trust model works and I was happily stating that I feel confident and comfortable with the safeguards”, Mr Pillay said.

He added: “The trust that was asked for in using the TT App was broken. Yes, an acknowledgement of the mistake was done, so thank you. But we can, and should be able to do better”.

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As an electrical and computer engineer Mr Pillay gave the following suggestion to rectify the situation and regain some of the people’s trust: “introduce a bill specifically exempting TT Data from CPC – ONLY for the duration of this pandemic. It is time bound and very specific and targeted. I am very sure, the police investigators would not need additional TT Data to help with their investigations”.

He added that he did not think that excluding CPC access to TraceTogether app data will hinder criminal investigations.

“The records are valid only for 25 days and the accused person could have deleted the app and hence data”, he explained.

Mr Pillay also said that there are plenty of other means – CCTVs, phone records, cellphone tower records – to get data from.

“I want to now go back out to the world and say, yes, we are still doing the right thing. I am resigned to the possibility that this suggestion will be labelled as a non-starter as it might not be feasible since it makes an exemption in law for a specific case and duration.

But, to win back trust, to win back transparency and to win back privacy, please do the right thing”, he added.

An experienced ethical technologist with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry, Mr Pillai is skilled in Python, C, Security, Enterprise Architecture, and Virtualization. He is also a strong engineering professional with a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University.

Read his full post here. /TISG

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