Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Where Data Of 14,200 Hiv Positive People Has Leaked

A supporter wrapped in a rainbow flag attends the annual HIV records of more than 14,000 people leaked in Singapore
Ben Pena | 29 January, 2019, 12:41

Singapore-based advocacy group Action for AIDS said the case has the "potential of damaging the lives of persons living with HIV and their loved ones".

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

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 past year.

Brochez was the partner of Ler Teck Siang, a male Singaporean doctor, who had access to the HIV registry for his work.

"Confidential information regarding 14,200 individuals diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 is in the possession of an unauthorised person".

Confidential information of 14,200 people with HIV, including their names, contact details and medical information, has been stolen and leaked online, and the culprit is an American fraudster, the Ministry of Health revealed on Monday (Jan 28). The data of another 2,400 people listed as part of a contact tracing process also has been exposed online, according to local authorities.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it lodged a police report against Brochez in May 2016, when it received information that he had confidential information that appeared to be from the HIV registry. Just past year, however, personal health information of over 1.5 million patients was stolen in the largest-ever hack of Singapore's public health system - which included the file of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Those affected are 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. "We have worked with the relevant parties to disable access to the information".

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"We are working with relevant parties to scan the Internet for signs of further disclosure of the information", it said, adding that Brochez now was under police investigation and local authorities were seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts.

In a statement, the health ministry blamed Ler for the breach, accusing him of not complying with the policies regarding the handling of confidential data.

March 2012 - May 2013: Ler was head of the Health Ministry's National Public Health Unit and had access to the HIV Registry.

His partner, the former health official, is serving a 24-month sentence on charges of abetting the man to commit cheating, and of providing false information to the authorities.

June 2016: Ler was charged for offences under the Penal Code and OSA.

Anyone that comes across the information online is urged to report it immediately and "not further share it".

Brochez was in possession of information that appeared to be from the HIV registry, the ministry said.

Only when the police notified MOH last week (22 Jan) that the confidential information possessed by Farrera-Brochez has been leaked online that MOH chose to inform the public yesterday.

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