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Data from TraceTogether, used by 80% of Singapore’s population, can be used for criminal investigations

The Singapore government has confirmed that data from its coronavirus contact tracing app TraceTogether can be used by law enforcement for criminal investigations. Speaking in the country’s parliament on Monday, Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said the Singapore government is empowered under the Criminal Procedure Code to obtain TraceTogether data for criminal investigations.  Tan was responding to a question by Christopher De Souza, a politician for Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (GRC). De Souza had asked whether TraceTogether data will be used for criminal investigations and whether there are any legal provisions and safeguards when the authorities use such data.  Gerald Giam of the Workers’ Party asked if this violates the TraceTogether privacy statement, which stated that data shared with the Ministry of Health will only be used for contact tracing of people possibly exposed to COVID-19. In response, Tan said that while TraceTogether is conceived and implemented for contact tracing, the government does not “preclude the use of TraceTogether data in circumstances where citizens' safety and security is or has been affected, and this applies to all other data as well".  Privacy policy changed to reflect police access TraceTogether’s privacy policy was changed on January 4 i.e. Monday to add a paragraph about how police can invoke the law to use data collected by the app. The update says that “authorised police officers can request users to upload their TraceTogether data for criminal investigations”.  “TraceTogether data may be used in circumstances where citizen safety and security is…

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