Kerala oppn again up in arms over handing over Covid-19 data

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Thiruvananthapuram, April 12 (IANS) Unhappy with the explanation given by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the handing of over the data of Covid-19 suspects to US-based PR and marketing firm Sprinklr, the Congress-led opposition on Sunday again demanded he come clean on this.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had first raised this issue and on Saturday, Vijayan said the company belongs to a Keralaite and he came forward with the offer to help and the state government is not paying anything to this company, while even the WHO is using this data.
However, the opposition was not convinced.
Chennithala on Sunday put forth 15 questions to Vijayan, and demanded convincing answers and not to beat around the bush, when straight questions are asked.
“The state government has competent agencies to handle this data and instead, why is these strictly private data, especially which pertains to the health condition of our people, being uploaded to a foreign company’s website. In their website, they have mentioned that there will be times when they will be handing over data to others, which is unethical,” he said.
He also asked Vijayan not to mislead people by saying that even the WHO is using their data.
“WHO is only being told about the number of positive cases. We wish to know what due process of law was done when it was decided to hand this highly confidential data to this firm. Was there a global tender floated for this?. This firm had run into trouble the way they handled the data during the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and hence it’s only natural to know why this firm was given this job,” said Chennithala.
Senior RSP leader and Kollam Lok Sabha member N.K.Premachandran said this is a clear cut violation on the Supreme Court’s directives that a government should ensure privacy of people, when it comes to data.
“What’s even more surprising is the commodity called ‘data’ is one thing which is priceless and this is given for free. When it pertains to people, it’s more baffling. You (Vijayan) everyday mention about the various charities that comes into the state government’s kitty and why is that you never ever mentioned a word about this ‘free service’ being done by this firm. The silence of the CPI-M and CPI, two companies who are always fighting for rights and privacy is surprising and we wish these parties break their silence,” he said.