Personal data will not be handed over illegally owing to the Kerala government's contract with US-based firm Sprinklr in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the state IT department said on Monday.
The government has taken the steps and precautions to safeguard the data. The data will be fully owned by the Kerala government, the IT department said in a press statement.
The response from the department came after the Congress-led opposition raised a slew of doubts over the deal with the firm.
The opposition had alleged that the government was compromising the health data of the people by contracting the US firm.
“In the work order for the customisation of the data collection tool, it has been made clear that the data collection will be done totally under the ownership of the state government. A non-disclosure contract that the data will be stored in the servers within the country and that the data will not be used for any other purpose has been included in this,” the statement said.
Sprinklr's tool will be used for identifying the (coronavirus) hotspots in the future and providing data that would help local bodies take preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease.
The contract terms with the company ensured that no malpractice or misuse will be done with this, the department said.
A special enterprise contract will be signed with the company once the data collection starts in a massive scale after the ongoing lockdown is lifted.
It also said that those who provide data will be informed about its purpose.
“The data for COVID-19 war room is collected through Facebook, Twitter, email, WhatsApp etc. Help is made available to the needy by analysing these data fast. We had faced similar troubles during the floods also. We accepted the free service of Sprinklr, owned by Keralite entrepreneur Ragi Thomas, as we found it the best tool for the service we need. The software tool provided by Sprinklr is a software as a service (SaaS) application. It's a ready-to-use software. It just has to be customised as per our needs. The company is responsible for its maintenance and update,” the department said.
The IT department said the subdomain for data entry has been changed from citizencenter.sprinklr.com to citizncenter.kerala.gov.in.
The order for creating the new subdomain was given after some modifications were done on the software.
“It's only a part of the ongoing process. Changing the subdomain does not mean that the server has been changed,” the department clarified.
Work for enhancing the capacity of the cloud account of IT department-owned C-DIT was on. Once it is done, all data will be stored in the server owned by the government.
CM ducks questions
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi evaded repeated questions on the controversy saying the IT department would answer them.
“I can only say that there's no need for the kind of concerns or doubts you raise. I have no time to go after it now. You can ask the IT department if you have any doubts,” the chief minister said during his press briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the state.
He was reacting to a question about reports that the government has backed off from the deal with Sprinklr.
However, unhappy with the CM's response, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala reiterated that a probe should be conducted into the deal with Sprinklr and IT Secretary Sivasankar be kept out of the department.
He said there was no clarity on the contract between the state government and the company.
The US-based firm said it has complied with the country's data privacy regulations while dealing with its clients.
Sprinklr CEO Ragy Thomas hails from Mavelikkara.