Singapore police can obtain Covid contact-tracing data for criminal investigations, minister confirms

Singapore police are “empowered” to obtain COVID-19 data from TraceTogether to assist in criminal investigations, a government minister told parliament.

Desmond Tan, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, said yesterday that the country’s  Criminal Procedure Code allows police to use the data for investigations. This is despite the privacy notice for TraceTogether users stating  data will only be used for the purpose of contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawrence Wong, education minisiter, said this week that more than 4.2 million people, approximately 78% of Singapore residents, are now using the tracking device.

In today’s parliamentary proceedings, Christopher De Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) asked Mr Tan if the data collected through the TraceTogether app and tokens, was accessible to Singapore law enforcement, to which Tan confirmed stating:

“Singapore Police Force is empowered under the Criminal Procedure Report to obtain any data and that includes the TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations. The Government is the custodian of the TraceTogether data submitted by the individuals and stringent measures are put in place to safeguard this personal data.”

When asked by Aljunied GRC MP Gerald Giam if allowing SPF to access TT data violates the privacy notice, Mr Tan stated that the TT data is only to be used for contact tracing and fighting COVID-19, but authorised police may use the Criminal Procedure Code “for the purpose of criminal investigation, and for the purpose of the safety and security of our citizens.”

PrivSec has reached out to the Singapore Police Force for comment.

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