US citizen leaks data on 14,200 people in Singapore with HIV
US citizen leaks data on 14,200 people in Singapore with HIV
A man pins an HIV awareness ribbon to his shirt. The HIV-positive status of thousands of people was leaked from a Singaporean database this month
29 January, 2019, 12:43
Singaporean officials assured the public that they had installed additional security measures to protect patients' health data in 2016, three years after Brochez stole the HIV files.
The MOH said the information was in the possession of a USA citizen named Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, who had been remanded to prison in Singapore in 2016, convicted of numerous fraud and drug-related offenses.
It said Brochez worked in Singapore for a period before he was jailed for several drug and fraud-related offenses and deported previous year.
They believe an HIV-positive American whose partner was a senior Singaporean doctor is behind the leak.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed that confidential information regarding 14,200 individuals diagnosed with HIV was leaked and is now in the possession of a foreigner named Mikhy K Farrera Brochez. The information included each person's name, identification number, phone number and address, HIV test results, and related medical information.
Brochez was deported after serving his jail term and was now overseas, according to the ministry statement, which did not say where.
In a statement on its website, the ministry said the confidential health information of some 14,200 individuals diagnosed with HIV had been exposed. From June 27 to July 4 previous year, hackers infiltrated the computers of SingHealth and stole the personal particulars of 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The affected individuals included 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners who had been diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and December 2011, respectively. "Our priority is the wellbeing of the affected individuals", a release from the Ministry of Health (MOH) reads.
When contacted, the police said they are seeking the help of their foreign counterparts in their investigations.
The ministry said it had worked with the "relevant parties" to disable access to the information. His partner previously had access to the HIV registry for his work, it said. Ler has since been convicted of abetting Farrera-Brochez to commit cheating and of providing false information to the police and MOH.
"This incident is believed to have arisen from the mishandling of information by [the doctor], who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information", the ministry said. He also was charged under Singapore's Official Secrets Act for failing to adopt reasonable care with confidential data regarding HIV-positive patients.
He is appealing the two-year prison sentence he received and is scheduled to be heard in March 2019.
He was convicted in September a year ago of abetting Farrera-Brochez to cheat and of providing false information to the police and Ministry of Health (MOH).
The ministry said it discovered that Brochez had obtained the confidential records in 2016, and reported it to police.
Only when the police notified MOH last week (22 Jan) that the confidential information possessed by Farrera-Brochez has been leaked online that MOH made a decision to inform the public yesterday.
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