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Contract terms, non-disclosure agreement ensure COVID-19 data security: Kerala govt tells HC on deal with US firm

ANI | Updated: Apr 23, 2020 14:26 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], April 23 (ANI): State government has filed its response in Kerala High Court on a plea challenging its COVID-19 data processing contract with a US-based company and said that the contract terms and non-disclosure agreement (NDA) will ensure data security and privacy of the citizens.
"The terms and conditions of the purchase order form and the agreements referred to therein as well as the non-disclosure agreement ensure that the data is secure and the right to privacy of the citizens is protected," Kerala government said in the statement filed on Wednesday.
Kerala High Court had on Tuesday asked the state government to file a report on the petition, filed by Balu Gopalakrishnan, challenging the agreement with Sprinklr saying it violated the privacy of the citizens.
The state government also said that there is no undue drain from the government exchequer due to the contract with the said firm.
"The first respondent (state government) is under no obligation to pay for the services rendered by the third respondent (US-based firm) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon the conclusion of the scoping and implementation, the third respondent is to provide the first respondent with pricing and at that time, the first respondent in its sole discretion, determine what amount, if any, shall be paid," the statement said.

It said that the data has been migrated from citizencentre.sprinklr.com to citizencentre.Kerala.gov.in subdomain and that it is being stored on cloud in Mumbai, India and not abroad.
The government said that the data collected was essential for giving inputs to the state executive committee of the Kerala Disaster Management Authority, which are essentially required as per the provisions of Section 22, 23, and 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Kerala Epidemic Disease Ordinance 2020.
"When there is a sudden panic situation, people resort to all channels of communication to reach out to the authorities for support and help. This meant multiple numbers of chats, SMS, email, etc and increased usage of social media platforms for the same. Such duplication of communication creates confusion and makes tracking the needy difficult," it said.
"In these circumstances, a multichannel communication network, which could handle volumes of structured and unstructured data and pass on to supporting Information Technology systems. was necessitated," it added.
It said that the government-owned/controlled entities like the C-DIT and Information Kerala Mission are not technically equipped to manage such a large volume of data and hence there were no viable alternatives within the Government framework. (ANI)