Published: Wed, January 30, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Who are the pair at the centre of HIV data leak?

Who are the pair at the centre of HIV data leak?

Confidential data of 14,200 people diagnosed with HIV, mostly foreigners, has been stolen and leaked online in Singapore, authorities said Monday, the second massive data breach in the city-state within months.

"The records were those of 5400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8800 foreigners diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011".

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

Brochez was jailed for 28 months in 2017 for fraud and drug-related crimes, before being deported.

However, as far back as in May 2016, MOH has already received information that Farrera-Brochez possessed the confidential data from its HIV Registry.

"I am sorry that one of our former staff who was authorized to have access to confidential information in our HIV registry appears to not have complied with our security guidelines", Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said.

'The information has been illegally disclosed online.

"Our priority is the well-being of the affected individuals", it added, saying that it has been contacting affected individuals to inform and provide assistance to them since Saturday.

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 Health Ministry said.

Authorities believe an HIV-positive American whose partner was a senior Singaporean doctor is behind the data breach.

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The hack comes after the health records of 1.5million Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen in a suspected state-sponsored attack in June and July, the country's biggest ever data breach.

The information included their name, identification number, contact details (phone number and address), HIV test results and related medical information.

Brochez - who could not be reached for comment - is now under investigation by Singaporean police, "and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts", the statement said. Officials said his whereabouts are unknown.

Ler was sentenced to two years' jail last year for abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the police and the health ministry. Ler was charged in Court in June 2016 for offenses under the Penal Code and the Official Secrets Act (OSA). It said it lodged another police report and notified the affected individuals.

"He was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment".

To successfully apply for an employment pass to stay here with his boyfriend, Farrera-Brochez submitted a HIV-negative test result to MOM in March 2008 using Ler's blood for the test.

Jan 23, 2019: MOH made a police report.

In May 2018, it was found that Brochez still had part of the records that he had in 2016, but the information did not appear to have been disclosed in any public manner.

Access to the information has been blocked but it is still in the possession of the person who leaked it - and could be disclosed again, the ministry warned.

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