April 22, 2019

Personal Details of 14,200 HIV-Positive Singaporeans Have Been Published Online

29 January 2019, 12:40 | Silvia Roy

Personal Details of 14,200 HIV-Positive Singaporeans Have Been Published Online

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The American lived in Singapore for eight years on an EP, from 2008 to 2016.

The data is in the possession of Mikhy K. Farrera Brochez, a male U.S. citizen who lived in Singapore from 2008 to 2016, the ministry said.

It said Brochez worked in Singapore for a period before he was jailed for several drug and fraud-related offenses and deported previous year.

His male partner was Ler Teck Siang, a Singaporean doctor who was head of MOH's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013. A workstation specifically configured and locked down to prevent unauthorised information removal was designated for the processing of sensitive information from the HIV Registry.

Confidential data of 14,200 people diagnosed with HIV, mostly foreigners, has been stolen and leaked online in Singapore, authorities said Monday, the second massive data breach in the city-state within months.

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Confidential information including names, addresses, HIV status and other medical information is reportedly included in the latest breach.

The details of another 2,400 of their contacts - identified through contact tracing - up to May 2007 were also leaked.

"We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident", the statement said.

While access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in the possession of the unauthorised person, and could still be publicly disclosed in the future, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Last year, Singapore revealed that personal information of about 1.5 million people including the prime minister was stolen after hackers infiltrated the government health database.

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The records that have been leaked include those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013, and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed up to December 2011, MOH said at a press conference at the College of Medicine Building. "Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals", a release from the Ministry of Health (MOH) reads.

Brochez is now under Police investigation for various offences, and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts, said the Ministry. "Police will not hesitate to take stern action, including prosecution, against those who have breached the OSA", said a spokesman.

Mr Gan said his ministry will continue to strengthen and review its system to ensure that it is secured.

"On this occasion, he had disclosed the information online", said MOH. Ler has since been convicted of abetting Farrera-Brochez to commit cheating and of providing false information to the police and MOH. He also was charged under Singapore's Official Secrets Act for failing to adopt reasonable care with confidential data regarding HIV-positive patients.

However, on Jan 22, 2019, MOH was notified that more information from the HIV Registry could still be in the illegal possession of Brochez. Ler was sentenced to 24 months in jail, but has since filed an appeal, which is expected to be heard in March.

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The statement did not say how Brochez obtained the data or suggest a motive for leaking it online but only that the partner was believed to have "mishandled" the information.

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