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Singapore passes bill governing police use of contact tracing data

On Tuesday, Singapore passed new legislation that restricts law enforcement’s ability to access Covid-19 contact tracing data after extensive public backlash. The bill, called the Covid-19 Temporary Measures Amendment Bill, was passed under a Certificate of Urgency, which allows the government to speed up the adoption process for legislation considered to be pressing. The move comes just weeks after Singapore’s residents found out that the police could access the contact tracing data for criminal investigations.

Although Singapore claimed that the information would only be available if an individual tested positive for the infectious virus, the news sparked public outrage. The development was particularly interesting as the contact tracing app does not concede that third parties would be able to access sensitive data such as geographical location and health history. The bill now prohibits officers’ use of the data in situations except for serious offenses, in which case the information could be used for criminal probes, inquiries, or court hearings.

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