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Govt rolls back Sprinklr data giveaway, thanks to opposition

The state government has revoked its decision to upload the data on persons under Covid-19 surveillance on the website of US-based company Sprinklr.

Published: 14th April 2020 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2020 06:31 AM   |  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 state government has revoked its decision to upload the data on persons under Covid-19 surveillance on the website of US-based company Sprinklr.This follows Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala’s allegation that the government entered into a data-handling contract with Sprinklr without due procedures, thereby risking the privacy of the people under quarantine.

Earlier, the government had directed local self-government bodies to update the data on the company’s website. However, there wasn’t an official announcement on the purpose of this data collection. On Monday, the government directed the LSG secretaries to stop updating the data on the Sprinklr website and instead do it on the government website, housevisit.kerala.gov.in    

At his daily press briefing on Covid-19 control activities, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan refused to answer repeated questions on the contract. He said the IT department would issue a clarification on it.Chennithala said the chief minister’s evasion of questions added to the mystery in the deal. “Utilising the government machinery, an American company is collecting our people’s health information. It is surprising that the chief minister feigns ignorance on such a serious issue,” he said.

Chennithala also raised the doubt that the data collected through the present system would finally land up with Sprinklr. He also demanded an explanation from the government on the future of the data on around two lakh persons already in the possession of Sprinklr. According to Congress legislator K S Sabarinadhan, the government’s contract with the company did not follow the data protection laws. “The laws stipulate that the data should be collected with the permission of the persons concerned and also need to be destroyed after the purpose. These aren’t followed in this case,” he said on Monday.

Former chief minister Oommen Chandy sought an explanation from his successor Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue. A delay on this would increase people’s concerns, he said.Mullappally Ramachandran, KPCC chief, said the government was forced to revoke its decision because of the vigilance of the Opposition parties. NK Premachandran, MP, said he wrote to the Union health minister on whether the Kerala government’s contract had the sanction of the Indian Council of Medical Research and ministry’s Screening Committee.

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