Massive HIV Data Leak; No Closure Yet!

Singapore: Finally the authorities have
come up with some background details as to the circumstances that led to 14,200
people’s personal details along with their HIV status leakage.
The lingering questions, ever
since the data was compromised have been intriguing. Such as, the reason behind
not making it public in May 2016 when it was known that the information was in
wrong hands?
According to a recent media
briefing the Permanent Secretary of Health, cited that the ministry of health
did wasn’t sure as to the whether the news’ being public was in the interest of
the citizens.
They did mention though that
they will take conservative measures and better approaches now that they know
the persons in registry have concerns regarding a public announcement.
It’s disturbing that years
after the incident took place no one knows why the data still remained with the
unauthorized people.

According to sources, the
Ministry of Health had lodged a police report in May 2016 after finding out
that Mikhy Farrerra Brochez was in custody of the leaked information from the
HIV registry.
After, the properties owned by
Brochez and his partner Ler Teck Siang were searched by the police officials
and all pertinent material found was seized.
Even after that Brochez managed
to keep some information back and in turn leaked it later on. The Permanent Secretary
of Health voiced that the police should have had a better search.
It was later in May 2018 when
the people whose information as in the “unauthorized” hands were informed
about the entire leakage scenario.
In May 2018 the police found
out that Brochez had managed to hold some records back which was a month after
Brochez completed serving his jail sentence for other offenses and was deported
from Singapore.
There is no way of knowing
though, that how many people were informed that their persona details were in
wrong hands.
MOH lodged a police report and
had contacted the concerned individuals. The number of people was very small
according to PSH Mr. Chan.

Where Brochez was deported to is
still under wraps and the immigration department couldn’t share the details due
to confidentiality concerns.
He is known to have arrived in
the Kentucky state of the US. There’s no knowing if he’s being monitored, the
sources said.
He had called at his mother’s
house despite being warned to stay away and that’s when she informed the police
about it.
After he refused to leave he
was taken into custody and was charged. He has been asked to return to the district
to face criminal trespass.
The Singapore police force is
reportedly taking help of their foreign counterpart but didn’t mention which
organizations or countries.
Brochez’s partner was charged
with the Official Secrets Act for “failing to retain the possession of a thumb
drive” containing data from the leak but was stood down and there is no answer
as to why that happened.

According to Article 35(8) the
AG gets a wide discretion as public prosecutor in the conduct of criminal
proceedings. The prosecution “is not required to give reasons for why they
decide to proceed with certain charges and not others”.
Another question that has yet
to be addressed is how was the access to the confidential information disabled?
We do know that the MOH had worked with “relevant parties” to disable the
information of such sorts is uploaded on various hack forums and file sharing
sites such as “Pastebin” and “Mega” and is commonly hosted on web servers
taking down a web domain. It could be done on a registrar level. Domain
registrars are company people who create websites. But taking down a website
can’t totally solve the problem.
once, data is on the dark web it’s almost irretrievable. As it could be copied
or distributed across quite easily.
different from the internet the commoners use, the Dark Web is “unregulated and
decentralized and has no point of authority or disabling access to anything.

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