Singapore promised not to use contact tracing data for anything but COVID, but now that everyone is being tracked they changed their minds a lil 🤷‍♂️
· Jan 5, 2021 ·

It's almost as if governments don't always keep their promises when it concerns your personal privacy.

Singapore has confirmed that law enforcement is able to access the country's COVID-19 contact tracing data in criminal probes, even though they had previously said that wouldn't be the case.

That (now broken) promise was no doubt part of the reason Singapore was able to achieve an insane 78% adoption rate of residents using the contact tracking app TraceTogether or a wearable token.

In fact, they literally said that data would "never be accessed unless the user tests positive." By the way, if you follow that link you'll see that statement I quoted is no longer there. It was removed yesterday in what we like to call a classic #DoubleOrwell.

The app and token work by keeping a record of any time two devices are within six feet of each other for more than 30 minutes. Then, you are alerted if you were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

But that kind of access to the whereabouts of people proved too good to only use for contact tracing.

So this scene from The Dark Knight played out in real life, except Lucius Fox wasn't there to stop it.

According to ZDNet, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Desmond Tan, let slip that the government can use TraceTogether data for criminal probes.

So people were like, "Hey, that wasn't part of the deal!"

But Singapore was like,

Tan said the Singapore government was the "custodian" of the contact tracing data and "stringent measures" had been established to safeguard the personal data. "Examples of these measures include only allowing authorised officers to access the data, using such data only for authorised purposes, and storing the data on a secured data platform," he said.

But not to worry, if officers abused this power they'll be in REAL big trouble!

He added that public officers who knowingly disclose the data without authorisation or misuse the data may be fined up to SG$5,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.

Imagine the relief the people of Singapore must be feeling!

Here's Tan explaining all the ways they can use TraceTogether data, and trying hard to set everyone at ease about saying goodbye to their promised privacy.

Oh, and if that isn't Orwellian enough for you, don't forget that Singapore is making TraceTogether tokens mandatory this year.

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