back to article Singapore admits it should have explained COVID app data could be used by cops

The Singapore prime minister's office admitted on Wednesday that it should have "been clearer" on plans to use data collected by its COVID tracking program from the onset, and that allowing the data to be used in police investigations had affected public trust. The comments were made in a 92-page white paper titled Singapore's …

  1. SnOOpy168

    It's nice of the Singapore government to admit its shortcomings openly.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      I'm surprised they even pretended the data wouldn't be shared, though. Singapore is generally pretty open about the level of control they want to have.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        They claimed the data wouldn't be shared while the legal status was that it could. Politicians and governments pull off this sort of shit all the time - making grand claims about some legislation or program that are not matched by the actual legal text.

        Ideally one could apply a sort of constitutional consumer warranty to law, ie if a lawmaker or government has said, in their official capacity (ie not a campaign speech) that law x will or will not do y, then if the law's text deviates from the official claims it automatically invalidates the law or that part of it about which the claim was made. Wishful thinking, I know!!!

        More pragmatically, make sure to know what you're signing up for!!!

      2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        to tackle adoption challenges

        Minister 1 "How can we get them to agree to this?"

        Minister 2 "Whatever you do, don't tell them the police will have access to the data."

        Minister 1 "I see what you mean."

        The thing is, even if the law says the police can't have access to the data: (A) There can be another law that says they can. (B) Or the law says the "special" police can. (C) Or the regular police can break the law anyway (ye olde "if you want to make an omelet" reason). (D) If all else fails, the government can change the law at any time (ye olde "think of the children" reason).

        Anybody who says stored data can only be used for one purpose is either a fool (works in government) or a liar (works in business).

  2. Steve Button Silver badge

    We're OK though?

    This would never happen here though, would it?

    So, any plans for a digital ID in the UK should be entirely trusted because our government would only every use it for the original stated purpose. For example, they would never use it to dig up dirt on their political enemies.

    Therefore we should all welcome such ideas, unless you are doing something wrong of course. Otherwise you've got nothing to fear.

    That way, if someone from the local council decides they need to fine someone for littering, you can be safe in the knowledge that those criminals can't go around anonymously.

    I can't see any downsides.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: We're OK though?

      I'm pleased by your upvotes, there are far too often "I've nothing to hide" types that pop up. Maybe not on El Reg.

      Everyone has thoughts that others would find offensive today, that much can one be certain of.

      1. Steve Button Silver badge

        Re: We're OK though?

        "Everyone has thoughts that others would find offensive today"

        Now that gives me an excellent idea for a startup. How about a device which you attach to yourself that detects any thoughts that others would find offensive, that then immediately plucks those thoughts right out of your brain? Remember you heard it here first. I might go and pitch this to a16z or Elon, and see if I can get seed funding.

        Even better, I could design an app that prevents you from having ANY thoughts and just constantly distracts you with trivial memes. I could call it Tok Tik.

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: We're OK though?

          "that then immediately plucks those thoughts right out of your brain?"

          No market for that. But with a few mods we could send those thoughts right out via Twitter.

      2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: We're OK though?

        It's precisely the "innocent" (read naive) ones, those with nothing to hide, who should be *most* alarmed by universal ID. There's already plenty of muscle applied against actual criminals, universal ID would be the least of their worries. What's lacking is a way to terrorize the general population. As our Spanish commenter @xyz relates below, hell is a few clicks away.

    2. xyz Silver badge

      Re: We're OK though?

      I have a Spanish digital cert and signature and it was all fun until recently. Now after COVID, all Spanish civil servants seem to have retreated to an online existence and use their data stores as weapons.... and given you have a digital ID, they can smite you at the press of a key.... and they don't tell you that you have notifications unless they want money.... which means logging onto gov websites weekly to see how much shit you are in. IT IS HELL.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: We're OK though?

        I don't understand. Would you need to pay the government less if you didn't have an ID?

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