Published: Tue, January 29, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

US citizen leaks data on 14,200 people in Singapore with HIV

US citizen leaks data on 14,200 people in Singapore with HIV

"This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today", Yangfa said.

The ministry said on Tuesday that Mikhy K. Farrera Brochez recently put the records online.

The ministry said Brochez worked in Singapore as a lecturer for a period before he was jailed for several drug and fraud-related offences and deported previous year.

His partner was Ler Teck Siang, a Singaporean doctor who was head of MOH's National Public Health Unit (NPHU) from March 2012 to May 2013 and had access to the HIV Registry for his work. The HIV information leak was not related to the cyberbreach.

An HIV-positive American who had been deported from Singapore after serving a jail term has leaked online the personal data of 14,200 Singaporeans and foreigners diagnosed in the city-state with the virus.

The information included their names, identification numbers, contact information, HIV test results and related medical information, along with the personal information of 2 400 of their contacts.

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 ministry said.

However, as far back as in May 2016, MOH has already received information that Farrera-Brochez possessed the confidential data from its HIV Registry.

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The hack comes just months after the records of 1.5m Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen previous year. The ministry said it then worked with "relevant parties" to disable access to the information.

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. "Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals", a release from the Ministry of Health (MOH) reads.

Police are investigating and the authorities are seeking help from foreign counterparts. "Police will not hesitate to take stern action, including prosecution, against those who have breached the OSA", said a spokesman.

The Ministry of Health sought to have private clinics contribute data to the NEHR via a Healthcare Services Bill introduced to parliament. His partner previously had access to the HIV registry for his work, it said.

About eight months later, MOH found that Brochez could have illegal possession of more information from the HIV registry and that he had disclosed the information online.

"We are working with relevant parties to scan the internet for signs of further disclosure of the information".

Ler was charged in court in June 2016 for offences under the Penal Code and the Official Secrets Act (OSA). After Brochez was deported last May, the ministry said it learned he still had some records.

While the MOH statement doesn't give an exact motive for the leak, it does state that it was the result of "mishandling of information by Ler, who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information".

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