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Opposition raises eyebrows over selection of US firm to analyse health data of Keralites

The data is considered protected health information by many countries, said Ramesh Chennithala. The task entrusted with the US firm can be executed here by firms under the state government, he said.

Published: 10th April 2020 05:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th April 2020 05:05 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala

Kerala Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala (Photo | Manu R Mavelil, EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government's decision to appoint a US company to analyse the health data of people here in the backdrop of COVID-19 is against the interests of the state, said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, he said the state government has deputed US firm Sprinklr to analyse the health information of people placed in quarantine as well as the elderly and those vulnerable to the virus.

The data collected by ward level committees formed as part of COVID-19 containment will be fed directly to the website of the US company without being stored in servers of the state government, he claimed, adding that it is a serious procedural lapse.

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A questionnaire having 41 questions has been prepared for data collection. One of the questions seeks the details of various diseases like diabetes, stroke, renal diseases, cancer, respiratory ailments and thyroid related diseases of the targeted people. All this is very important data related to public health which is considered protected health information by many countries, he said.

The company which got permission to process the data though technologies like artificial intelligence can misuse the data for commercial purposes, said Chennithala. Further, the private company has been using the emblem of the state government for this purpose and the IT secretary of the state was also featured in the ad film of the company released last week.

Also, it is not known if the state government has taken any steps to avoid data leakage, he said, adding the company can make a quick buck if the data is sold to insurance companies. The task entrusted with the US company can be executed here by firms under the state government like CDIT or IT Mission, he added.

The state government should make clear if the company was selected based on a global tender and the amount given to the company for analysing the data, demanded Chennithala.

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