Saturday, February 06, 2021

If you lie in Parliament, just pass a law to make it OK




The decision to introduce a bill allowing use of health tracking data shows a government that is dangerously tone deaf and out of touch. 

Having promised that tracking data would only be used to trace contacts of COVID-19 exposure, the government then admitted that existing legislation allows the police to access the Trace-Together health tracking data. 

Rather than passing a law to make the Trace-Together data off-limits for police use, we now have a law which guarantees police use.   

Let us remember we are facing a health emergency, not a security emergency.  We all agreed to having our personal privacy compromised in the interest of the greater good.  We did not agree to the extension of the security state.

Police access to the health tracking data creates a new crime of proximity.  You can become a suspect simply by being in the vicinity of someone else.  Suddenly you are guilty until proven innocent.  The police will certainly make access to health tracking data part of their standard operating procedure.  Why wouldn’t they?

Minister Balakrishan is quoted as saying “it would be unconscionable to inhibit the police’s abilities to act on serious offences”.  Shame on him.

What is really unconscionable is to ask citizens to give up their privacy by promising confidentiality, and then cynically legislate the opposite into permanent law.    

There is no need or basis for breaking trust with Singaporeans and allowing unrelated use of tracking data.  

The old adage “just because you can does
n’t mean you should” applies.

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