SINGAPORE: The NRIC numbers of the latest batch of graduating National Service (NS) recruits were mistakenly published on Facebook for almost a day before the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) realised the "oversight" and removed the information.
In a letter to the TODAY newspaper's Voices page on Thursday (Mar 16), BMTC commander Colonel Desmond Yeo explained that the centre uploads portraits of NS recruits online so that they can share them with their family and friends.
Previously, the photos were labelled manually using information such as the recruits’ platoon, section and bed numbers.
However, for the most recent graduating cohort, the names of the files were auto-generated by scanning the recruits’ Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) identity cards to speed up the process.
This resulted in the portraits being labelled by NRIC numbers. No other personal data was released, Col Yeo said.
A reader, Mr Darryl Lo, had flagged the incident in an earlier letter to Voices. The photos were published on BMTC's Facebook page at about 10pm last Saturday with a Google Drive document link with the recruits' NRIC numbers and photos, he said.
Col Yeo said BMTC immediately removed the link to the portraits by noon the day after the photos were posted when they realised what had happened. It is reviewing its procedures to prevent a similar recurrence, he added.
"BMTC recognises that making available our recruits’ portraits, labelled together with their NRIC numbers on a platform accessible to the general public, was an oversight. We apologise for the mistake."