Singapore to use covid-19 tracking app data to assist in criminal investigations

Most countries created contact tracking apps to prevent users from being exposed to COVID-19. An initiative that has also been present in Singapore.

However, they plan to use this app's data beyond the benefits it provides to users. A use that opens up controversy again about the privacy issues that can surround such applications.

Singapore Police can use tracking app data

Singapore uses a digital system called TraceTogether to combat the spread of COVID-19. And as in other countries, they use the dynamics of contact tracking. If a user is exposed to the coronavirus through close contact, the app will issue a notification.

This app uses mobile Bluetooth and all data is stored locally on the device. Information that is kept encrypted and deleted every 25 days. On the other hand, they use a random identification system to store users' personal data on a server.

And they promise to share data only if the COVID-19 result is positive, and with a small group of authorized staff, so you can run the contact tracking dynamic. However, this measure appears to have an exception. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the country's law enforcement authorities may use the data in this application as part of their criminal investigations.

This follows from a meeting in Parliament. It was consulted whether TraceTogether's data would be used for criminal investigations and the answer was that "while strict measures are taken" to protect user data, police could appeal to legislation to request access to that data for investigations. A position that is already reflected in the platform upgrade:

TraceTogether data may be used in circumstances where citizen security is or has been affected. Authorized police officers may invoke the powers of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CPC) to ask users to upload their TraceTogether data for criminal investigations. Singapore Police are empowered by the CPC to obtain any data, including TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations


It should be noted that Singapore is one of the most successful countries in adopting this contact tracking system. As mentioned in The Straits Times, more than 4.2 million people use TraceTogether, representing 78% of the inhabitants. Just a few months ago, the government ruled that it is mandatory to implement this system to enter public places.

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