AIIMS cyber attack: Tharoor asks govt to ensure protection of citizens' data

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Photo: PTI
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday called for a thorough investigation into the cyber attack on the servers of AIIMS-Delhi and urged the government to take necessary measures to ensure adequate protection of citizens' sensitive personal data and avoid such data breaches in the future.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi allegedly faced a cyber attack last month, paralysing its servers. A case of extortion and cyber terrorism was registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police on November 25.

Raising the matter of urgent public importance in Lok Sabha, Tharoor said the recent cyber attacks on the IT servers of AIIMS-Delhi had resulted in data losses which impeded its normal operations including patient registration, consultation booking and availability of medical records.

"The origin, intent and extent of the attack remain unclear and I trust that the government recognising this as a matter of public importance will take the House into confidence about this and the measures taken to prevent a recurrence," the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

The possibility of this being a hostile cross-border attack is a grave concern which calls for a thorough investigation and a tough response, Tharoor stressed.

"It also reflects the weak data protection safeguards in our country especially by government institutions. The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 had created a special category of sensitive personal data including health data that required stringent safeguards but this has unfortunately been done away with in the new draft bill released by the government," he said.

"I urge the minister (of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw) to take necessary measures to ensure that sensitive personal data of our citizens are adequately protected and to avoid such data breaches in the future," the Congress leader said.

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