HIV data leak

Brochez must hand over leaked HIV data to Singapore's MOH

Mikhy Farrera Brochez also has until March 29 to certify to the court that he has permanently deleted all sensitive or private information obtained from the Singapore authorities.
Mikhy Farrera Brochez also has until March 29 to certify to the court that he has permanently deleted all sensitive or private information obtained from the Singapore authorities.PHOTO: ARDEN BARNES FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

US judge also orders him to delete sensitive or private information obtained from MOH

A 34-year-old American at the centre of Singapore's HIV registry leak has been ordered by a US court to immediately hand over all copies he owned of any confidential data from the Singapore Government.

Mikhy Farrera Brochez must also permanently delete all sensitive or private information obtained from the Singapore authorities, whether it be saved on any computer or uploaded to any platform.

He has until March 29 to certify that the deletions have been made. If he fails to comply with the injunction, he can be held in contempt of court and fined or jailed.

The order on Monday was part of a preliminary injunction sought by Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH), which filed a civil lawsuit against Farrera Brochez in February in a Kentucky federal court to limit his spread of the stolen data.

The data involved the confidential information of 14,200 people with HIV, including their names, contact details and medical information. Farrera Brochez had gained access to the HIV registry through his partner, who was then head of MOH's National Public Health Unit.

Farrera Brochez was deported from Singapore in April last year after serving a jail term for separate drug-related offences and fraud, including lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status. He now lives in the United States.

In the latest court order, he must also remove all posts on all social media platforms which refer to the confidential information or are related to the data leak, and is banned from making any more such posts.

 
 
 

Anyone else he sent the data to must also do the same.

Farrera Brochez is already barred from disclosing the confidential information under a temporary restraining order, but Monday's injunction goes a step further in requiring the deletions and removal of information online.

US District Judge Danny Reeves said Farrera Brochez was likely to continue in his efforts to spread the leaked information if the preliminary injunction was not granted.

"The defendant has indicated in a Facebook post that he feels 'wronged' by the Government of Singapore and has repeatedly threatened to disseminate the information if his husband is not released from custody," said the judge in the written grounds for his decision, seen by The Straits Times.

Farrera Brochez's partner, Ler Teck Siang, was convicted in 2016 of helping him give false information to the authorities. He is appealing.

The judge noted MOH was likely to succeed in showing that Farrera Brochez committed an invasion of privacy under Kentucky law.

"Farrera Brochez has shown that he is willing and capable of giving unreasonable publicity to another's private life," said the judge, noting that he had disclosed confidential information to news outlets.

The judge also accepted MOH's argument that Singaporeans who were identified through the registry would be irreparably harmed if the information was released publicly, and that MOH's reputation would be harmed should the information be further spread.

Farrera Brochez faces four federal criminal charges relating to the unlawful possession of identification documents and attempted extortion. His case is before a grand jury, which will decide whether or not to proceed to a trial.

Farrera Brochez was due in court on Monday on a separate criminal trespassing charge. The hearing was postponed to July because he is in detention until the federal criminal case is concluded.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Brochez must hand over data to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe