Congress claims US firm involvement in COVID-19 data analysis in Kerala

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Updated: Apr 10, 2020 10:03 PM

The data, collected using government machinery, was being uploaded not in the government server but in that of the foreign company, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala claimed.

The ward-level committees, set up by the government for
the anti-corona fight, were collecting information and
uploading it in the servers of the private agency.

The Congress in Kerala on Friday alleged the Left front government in the state has entrusted a US company with the task of analysing data on COVID-19 patients in the state, saying it was a violation of the fundamental rights of the affected persons. The data, collected using government machinery, was being uploaded not in the government server but in that of the foreign company, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala claimed.
Such secret data was considered as ‘protected health information’ by countries and handing it over to a foreign
private agency was a “serious” issue, he told reporters here, demanding scrapping of the contract.

“The most suspicious thing is that why the project was entrusted with the US company as the analysis of the data can
be done by the state-run C-DIT or IT Mission,” Chennithala said. Officials were not immediately available for reaction to the Congress leader’s charge. The ward-level committees, set up by the government for the anti-corona fight, were collecting information and uploading it in the servers of the private agency, he claimed.

The information of those in home isolation, elderly persons and those at the risk of the disease were collected
using a questionnaire, he said. “Is there any guarantee that the company would not sell the valuable data for commercial purpose in future?” the senior leader asked and wanted the government to reveal the contract details with the foreign company, including the terms and conditions.

The government initiative to provide personal information of individuals to a foreign agency creates a ‘dangerous environment’ and so the contract should be withdrawn, he said.

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