Sprinklr row: Protect data privacy, Kerala HC tells govt (Ld)

Kochi, April 24 (IANS) After hearing various petitioners in the controversial transfer of Covid-19 patient data by the Kerala government to US-based firm Sprinklr, the Kerala High Court on Friday, while refusing to stay the agreement, gave a number of directions to the state government, saying all safeguards regarding data privacy be maintained.

The court posted the case for hearing after three weeks.

“The main demand of the Opposition was for cancelling the agreement, but it has not happened, nor has the court stayed the agreement. We will now go ahead with it and we have always maintained that data will be protected,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

A division bench of the High Court pointed out that had this been a normal situation, it would have viewed the case in a different manner.

The court pointed out that it wants to ensure that there is no breach of data confidentiality with regard to the data collected and processed by Sprinklr.

The court directed that each person about whom the data has been collected should be informed about it.

It also directed Sprinklr not to use the emblem of the Kerala government for its marketing purposes.

The court pointed out that the state government can get in touch with the Centre after the present six-month contract with Sprinklr ends, as the former is the competent authority to deal with the matter.

Meanwhile, leader of Opposition from the Congress and one of the many petitioners in this case, Ramesh Chennithala — the first to raise this issue — claimed that the demands they had put before the court have been accepted.

“We said that there was no data privacy in this agreement, nor was consent taken from whom the data was collected. We also said Kerala’s logo should not be used. All these have been accepted by the court. We demand the Kerala government should immediately end the contract with Sprinklr,” Chennithala said.

State Law Minister A.K. Balan said the court has appreciated the work of the state government in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I spoke to the Advocate General and other legal experts and I was told by them that in the interim order, there is no stricture against the government. The Opposition is simply creating issues for political gains,” said Balan.