Technology, Media & Telecoms

Singapore HIV-Positive Data leaked Online

Date: 28 January 2019; Type: Industry Updates; Source: Bernama

SINGAPORE, Jan 28 (Bernama) - Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) has ascertained that confidential information regarding 14,200 individuals diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013, and 2,400 of their contacts, is in the possession of an unauthorised person.

In its website, MOH said the records were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011.

The information included their name, identification number, contact details (phone number and address), HIV test results and related medical information.

The name, identification number, phone number and address of 2,400 individuals identified through contact tracing up to May 2007 were also included.

According to MOH, the confidential information is in the illegal possession of Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, a male US citizen who was residing in Singapore, on an employment pass, between January 2008 and June 2016.

Remanded in Prison in June 2016, he was convicted of numerous fraud and drug-related offences in March 2017, and sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment.

The fraud offences were in relation to, among others, Brochez lying about his HIV status to the Ministry of Manpower, in order to obtain and maintain his employment pass, said the Ministry.

MOH said Brochez was a partner of Ler Teck Siang, Head of MOH’s National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013, who had authority to access information in the HIV Registry as required for his work.

Ler was charged in Court in June 2016 for offences under the Penal Code and the Official Secrets Act (OSA) .

In September 2018, he was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the Police and MOH, thus, he was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.

In addition, MOH said Ler has been charged under the OSA for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients.

In May 2018, after Brochez had been deported from Singapore, MOH received information that Brochez still had part of the records he had in 2016 but the information did not appear to have been disclosed in any public manner.

However, on Jan 22, 2019, MOH was notified that more information from the HIV Registry could still be in the illegal possession of Brochez.

“On this occasion, he had disclosed the information online,” said MOH.

Brochez is currently under Police investigation for various offences, and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts, said the Ministry.

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