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14,200 people living with HIV had their health data intentionally dumped online

14,200 people living with HIV had their health data intentionally dumped online
[Photo: Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

An American living in Singapore intentionally leaked the personal data of over 14,000 people living with HIV. In a wild story, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, who is HIV-positive, used his boyfriend’s blood to pass blood tests so he could move to Singapore in 2008. He was then busted for lying to the authorities about his HIV status, fraud, and drug-related offenses and was sent to jail in 2017, and then deported, The Straits Times reports.

He apparently took information from the HIV registry with him, which he had illegally obtained from his partner, a Singaporean doctor who was head of Singapore’s National Public Health Unit. The partner has been charged under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients.

Farrera-Brochez is accused of leaking the confidential information of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV as well as 8,800 foreigners who were diagnosed in Singapore prior to December 2011. The information included each person’s name, identification number, phone number and address, HIV test results, and related medical information.

The Ministry of Health, which was notified of the leak by the police on January 22, also reports that the name, identification number, phone number, and address of 2,400 people identified through contact tracing were also included in the leak, per the Straits Times.

“We are sorry for the anxiety and distress caused by this incident,” said the ministry in a statement. “Our priority is the well-being of the affected individuals,” it added, saying that it has been contacting affected individuals to inform and help them since Saturday, and that it has worked with relevant parties to disable access to the information.

The leak comes as Singapore is still dealing with the ramifications of another health-related data breach in July 2018, when hackers infiltrated the computers of SingHealth and stole the personal particulars of 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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