Many governments around the world have introduced contact tracing apps to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because by being able to identify who has been in contact with who can help curb the spread of the virus. This is important in the fight against the pandemic, but it also raises some privacy concerns.
In fact, it seems that over in Singapore, the government has confirmed that the data they obtained from its TraceTogether contact tracing app can also be used to aid criminal investigations. The app (and its wearable token) has seen close to 80% adoption, which is amongst the highest penetration rates in the world.
This means that there is a lot of data on users and their whereabouts that law enforcement can use if they need to track a suspect in a criminal investigation down, or look for evidence. The country’s government had previously attempted to ease the mind of citizens by saying that the data would never be accessed unless a user tests positive, and that data stored would be encrypted and kept for a maximum of 25 days before being deleted.
However, the government has now confirmed that under the Criminal Procedure Code, the Singapore Police Force can obtain any data that they need, which includes data from the TraceTogether app. While we cannot argue against the benefits of contact tracing apps in helping curb the spread of the virus, we have to wonder if other governments around the world are now planning on using the data in similar ways as well.