An American man has leaked the confidential data of 14,200 people diagnosed with HIV in Singapore, the city-state’s health ministry said on Monday.
The leaked records relate to 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV between 1985 and January 2013, and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed between 1985 and 2011.
The records included HIV test results, names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses and other health information.
While access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in the possession of the unauthorised person, and could still be publicly disclosed in the future, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Authorities were contacting people who might have been affected by the leak and more 900 had been approached so far, local media reported.
US citizen Mikhy Farrera Brochez lived in Singapore from 2008 and was convicted in 2017 on numerous drug-related and fraud offences, including lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status, the statement said.
The ministry said that Brochez was deported after serving his jail term and was now overseas, but it did not say where.
Brochez was HIV-positive and used his Singaporean doctor husband’s blood sample to pass blood tests so he could work in Singapore, the ministry said.
His husband, who worked at the National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013, previously had access to the HIV registry for his work, the ministry said.
Brochez was in possession of information that appeared to be from the HIV registry, the ministry said. The statement did not say how Brochez obtained the data or suggest a motive for leaking it online but only that the partner was believed to have “mishandled” the information.
Brochez is currently under police investigation, and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts, according to the ministry statement, which did not specify any country.
Reuters could not immediately reach Brochez for comment.
The leak comes just months after Singapore revealed the worst cyberattack in its history after hackers infiltrated the government health database. The HIV information leak was not related to the cyberbreach.