On Feb. 2, Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh took to the Parliamentary podium to talk about TraceTogether (TT) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the issue of which previously caused quite a buzz among Singaporeans.
Singh's speech focused the necessity of the code applying to TT, and balancing policy and citizens' privacy rights.
The Workers' Party (WP) leader also pointed out that belatedly realising the CPC applied to TT was an "error" on the government's part.
Singh: Whole of WP uses TraceTogether
Despite Singh's pointed questions directed at the government, he made clear his support for TT.
Singh proceeded to whip out his phone for an actual demonstration of TT, observing that there were currently 31 to 35 other devices with TT active in his vicinity.
Urging everyone to download the app or use the token, he added that "all of us in the WP as I know have downloaded TraceTogether".
"...Because it's the safety of the entire community at stake," Singh said.
Singh also noted:
"Whatever concerns that are there, that you wish to raise, I'm sure there your parliamentarians will bring them up to parliament and certainly the opposition will do so."
TraceTogether and the CPC
In his speech, Singh also questioned the role of TT in solving major crimes.
He pointed out that the police already had an abundance of investigate tools like CCTV or mobile phone data, in addition to "old-fashioned police work."
He then asked Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan two questions:
- For the one known case in which the data was used, how critical was the data in solving the case?
- For the seven categories of serious crimes, how often has TraceTogether data been used so far?
The answer to the first case was revealed in Parliament by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan — TT data was used in a murder case at Punggol Field in May 2020, although "no useful data" was obtained.
Addressing the government's "error" with regards to the CPC, Vivian laid out the entire timeline of his TT journey.
He also acknowledged that the possibility of TT data being used by police did not cross his mind or that of his engineers.
Only when a member of public raised the question in Oct. 2020 did he ask his staff to double-check the application of the code.
He added that in the past month, 350 people have asked the government to delete their data, but 390,000 have come on board the TraceTogether programme.
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Top photo from CNA and Vivian Balakrishnan / FB