Covid patients’ data won’t be compromised, state tells HC 

Justifying the agreement with US-based firm Sprinklr, the state government on Thursday submitted before the High Court that the data collected from Covid-19 patients will not be compromised.

Published: 24th April 2020 06:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2020 06:35 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court (Photo| A Sanesh,EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Justifying the agreement with US-based firm Sprinklr, the state government on Thursday submitted before the High Court that the data collected from Covid-19 patients will not be compromised. 
On the court’s recent poser as to why New York was chosen for jurisdiction, the state government said it was a ‘standard form of contract’ of Sprinklr. It also said it was possible to initiate penal action against Sprinklr if any data breach occurs, despite the restriction on jurisdiction for civil action. 

“The terms and conditions of the master service agreement and non-disclosure agreements signed by Sprinkler with the state government ensure that the data of Covid-19 patients and those under surveillance are secure and their right to privacy is protected,” the government submitted. It said the privacy policy of the company and the international data protection norms, including the General Data Protection Regulations, also ensured a high level of confidence of the data.

‘Balance necessary’
The government submitted that it was necessary to balance public’s right to life and health and the right to privacy of individuals. “No choice can be given to individuals in such exigencies when the society’s right to health is at stake,” the government submitted. It said the platform made available by the company could handle large volumes of multi-channel data which would facilitate effective monitoring of those under home quarantine.

“In fact, none of the government institutions in the state is capable of handling big data analysis in the shortest time,” it said. On jurisdiction, the government submitted that the data resides in India and hence there would be no issues of jurisdiction. “Even if any breach occurs outside India, prosecution action can be initiated within India,” it said. The court will consider the case on Friday.

‘Centre capable of providing data storage facility’

The Centre on Thursday informed Kerala High Court that, with the support of NIC, it is capable of providing all requirements related to data storage, processing and application which are being offered the Sprinklr, if a request comes from Kerala Government. The agreement on data sharing entered into between   Sprinklr and the state government is likely to cause prejudice to Covid-19 patients and others who did not give their consent by way of the government conceding exclusive jurisdiction to US courts. The Centre pointed out that the agreement did not safeguard the right to compensation as provided under the provisions of the IT Act. The sharing of sensitive data, especially health-related information of a large number of people, should be handled in a very careful manner, it said. The Centre has introduced the ‘AAROGYA SETU’ application for collection of health data and all states are advised to use it to fight the pandemic.

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