US citizen leaks data on 14200 people in Singapore with HIV

Mikhy Farrera-Brochez the man behind the leak lived in Singapore from 2008 onward before being jailed in 2017 for several fraud and drug-related offences and lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status

Since September 2016, the downloading and decrypting of information from the HIV registry requires the approval of two people instead of one, it said.

According to MOH, the confidential information is in the illegal possession of Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, a male U.S. 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.

The medical records belonged to 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners - including work and visit pass applicants and holders - diagnosed with the disease up to December 2011.

This included each person's name, identification number, phone number and address, HIV test results and related medical information.

"We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident". Although the Ministry contacted the affected individuals, the public was not informed of this discovery.

Although access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in Brochez's possession and could be publicly disclosed again in the future.

"Our counsellors are also available to assist them and to provide additional support if necessary", said the health minister.

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In September previous year, he was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the Police and MOH.

Brochez, who lived in Singapore between January 2008 and June 2016, obtained the documents from Ler Teck Siang, his Singaporean partner who worked as the head of MOH's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013.

"[We] will not hesitate to take stern action against staff and other individuals who abuse their authority and access to confidential information, or fail to handle such information in a proper manner". After he served his term Brochez was deported and was now outside the country.

"This reminds us of the insufferable stigma, fear and discrimination that continues to surround people living with HIV in Singapore today", Yangfa said.

He is not now in the city-state, the ministry said, adding that authorities were seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts. "A person found guilty of the wrongful possession, communication or use of confidential data shall be liable to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 [roughly $1,500 US], and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years", a police statement said.

Ler has been charged under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients, and is out on bail. It did not disclose this to the public but only to those affected. MOH made a police report and contacted the affected individuals to notify them. He is now appealing that sentence. Ler has appealed, and his appeal is scheduled to be heard in March 2019.

About eight months later, MOH found that Brochez could have illegal possession of more information from the HIV registry and that he had disclosed the information online.

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