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Two women to be charged under OSA over virus case number leaks

Two women to be charged under OSA over virus case number leaks

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 14 Apr 2021
Author: Goh Yan Han

The civil servant had also allegedly accessed a Government Covid-19 database for information.

A civil servant has been caught for allegedly leaking the number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore to a private chat group on 22 occasions in March and April last year.

She had also allegedly, on behalf of a woman, accessed a government Covid-19 database for information about a patient who had tested positive for the virus.

Both women are expected to be charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) today.

The police said yesterday that on April 16 last year, a member of the public had informed them that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases that day had been leaked online before the Ministry of Health (MOH) had released the figures.

The 36-year-old civil servant, who was an authorised recipient of confidential information on Covid-19, had allegedly shared the number of new Covid-19 cases on 22 occasions with members of a private chat group who were not supposed to receive the information.

Some then allegedly disseminated it before MOH had released the figures. The civil servant will be charged with wrongful communication of information under the OSA.

Another 64 people who had wrongfully received and/or communicated the information will be issued stern warnings or written advisories for offences under the OSA.

A 36-year-old woman, who was a member of the chat group, had allegedly asked the civil servant to check on the case status of a patient who had tested positive for Covid-19. The civil servant then allegedly accessed a government Covid-19 database to retrieve confidential records and provided the information to the woman.

For this, the civil servant will be charged with unauthorised access to computer materials under the Computer Misuse Act.

The other woman will be charged with soliciting wrongful communication of information, along with other offences of wrongful communication of information under the OSA.

Those convicted of this offence can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to two years. Those convicted of unauthorised access to computer materials can be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to two years.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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