Singapore: Authorities Use COVID Case Tracing App Data to Solve Crimes

Since March 2020 in Singapore, the TraceTogether application has made it possible to track positive cases for Sars-CoV-2 , the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 . But apparently this tracking and tracing app can also be used for other purposes, including helping Singaporean police to solve crimes.

Indeed, under article 20 of the CPC (Code of Criminal Procedure), Singapore law enforcement authorities have access to the data of each person who has downloaded the TraceTogether application, in order to carry out their investigations. .

Singapore Authorities Use Covid Case Tracing App Data To Solve Crimes

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Obviously, this can pose a problem with respect to the privacy of users, Vivian Balakrishnan , Minister in charge of the Initiative for a Smart Nation, and K. Shanmugam , Minister of Law and Home Affairs, wished to reassure their compatriots on the merits of this practice.

TraceTogether data will therefore only be used for the resolution of very serious crimes , such as homicides or terrorist attacks. And this, with full respect for the privacy of TraceTogether users.

The use of TraceTogether is no longer limited to tracing COVID cases

3 months ago, 2.4 million Singaporeans downloaded TraceTogether. Today, those numbers have grown to 4.2 million , which is equivalent to 78% of the population. This astonishing increase is partly due to a law, requiring the use of this application to be able to access public places, from the beginning of the year 2021.

And while the data provided by TraceTogether has helped solve murders more than once, this impressive number of users could only greatly increase its usefulness in police investigations.

It is still important to point out that by allowing the police to access the TraceTogether database, the Singaporean government went further. Indeed, while only the data of users positive for COVID-19 could be exploited by a very small team, article 20 of the CCP also allows the police to extract those of all users of the application, which they may or may not be carriers of the coronavirus.

TraceTogether users don't have to worry say authorities

As K. Shanmugam pointed out, the police will only use the data provided by TraceTogether to conduct investigations involving serious crimes, such as murder cases or terrorist attacks. Also, the authorities assure that in no case the government will spy on the users of TraceTogether.

Whenever an investigation comes to an end, if the data collected is no longer useful to the police, it will be erased from their databases. According to Shanmugam, TraceTogether users therefore do not have to worry about respecting their privacy.

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