Authorities in the United States have charged, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, the alleged perpetrator of the massive HIV data, leak in Singapore, with possession and unlawful transfer of stolen documents.
Farrera-Brochez was deported last year from Singapore after serving prison sentences for numerous drug-related and fraud offenses, including lying about his own HIV status.
According to the Health Ministry of Singapore, Farrera-Brochez, angered by his deportation had disclosed the personal information from names and identity numbers to addresses, of 5,400 citizens diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013, and of 8,800 foreigners diagnosed up to December 2011, on his Facebook account.
“The criminal complaint alleges that Farrera-Brochez illegally possessed and intended to distribute data containing sensitive medical and other identifying information,” the U.S. Attorney’s office of the eastern district of Kentucky said on Friday.
“While living in the eastern district of Kentucky, Farrera-Brochez sent links to the data from his e-mail account to several news outlets. He also sent e-mails to several government officials in Singapore containing links,” it said in a statement on its website.
As required by Singaporean law, everyone’s HIV status should be declared and should be added to a national database. The HIV registry was established in 1985 by the Ministry of Health to keep track of the infection situation and trace potential cases. The database includes personal information, names, and addresses of more than 14,200 people.
Singaporean authorities said the the leak is a step back in their efforts to destigmatise HIV and to encourage people to have themselves tested. They called the leak an attack to a ‘vulnerable community’.
Singapore has previously banned migrants from working in Singapore if they are HIV positive. Only those that are citizens or have married a citizen are exempted from the ban. It was lifted in 2015, but everyone is still required to undergo an HIV test and to disclose their status to the HIV registry of the Ministry of Health.
Facebook, the platform used by Farrera-Brochez to disclose HIV data of Singaporeans has since deactivated his account, citing a violation of their community standards.
Farrera-Brochez, who also appeared in court this week for an alleged trespassing charges is scheduled to appear in court on Feb 27, 2019. /apr