We refer to the letter by Mr Darryl Lo on the labelling of our recruits' portraits using their NRIC number ("Link to SAF Soldiers' IC numbers, photos posted on Facebook", 16 March 2017).
Basic Military Training Centre (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.
In order to make the BMT graduation parade a memorable and meaningful event, BMTC uploads soft copy portraits of our recruits online so that they may share these with their family and friends. This effort has been warmly received by the recruits.
Previously, the soft copy portraits were labelled manually via a different system, such as the use of the recruits' Platoon, Section and Bed Number. However, for the most recent graduating BMT cohort, the labelling was auto-generated via the scanning of the recruits' SAF identity cards for the purpose of speeding up the process. This resulted in the portraits being labelled by NRIC numbers. No other personal data was released.
BMTC immediately removed the link to the portraits by noon the following day, when the oversight was realised. We are reviewing our procedures to prevent a similar recurrence.
Colonel Desmond Yeo
Commander Basic Military Training Centre