Singapore police force can now access COVID-19 contact tracing data collected by TraceTogether app for criminal investigations. This has been confirmed by Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs. Access to TraceTogether App data will be only allowed to authorised officers and will be used for authorised purposes and storing the data on a secured platform. Public officers who knowingly disclose the data without authority could be fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to two years or both under the Public Sector Act. COVID-19 Notification App: More Countries Adopt Google-Apple Coronavirus Tracing System.

Till date, more than 4.2 million users of the local population have adopted the TraceTogether contact tracing app. TraceTogether was introduced in March last year for contact tracing and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The app taps Bluetooth signals to detect other available devices within two metres for more than 30 minutes that allows it to identify who has been in close contact with COVID-19.

When it comes to privacy concerns, the Singapore government had earlier said that the COVID-19 data would never be accessed unless the user tests positive for the virus and will be contacted by the contact tracing team. Personal data like a unique identity number, the mobile number will be stored on a secured server. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative & Minister of Foreign Affairs also had insisted that the app was not a tracking device as it did not contain a GPS chip and could not connect to the internet.

But now, the Singapore Government has confirmed that local law enforcement will be able to access the data for criminal investigations. Recently, TraceTogether privacy safeguards web page has been updated that clarifies how the CPC (Criminal Procedure Code) applies to all data under the country's jurisdiction.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 05, 2021 12:42 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website