Data leak: Dept. to probe link to seat-blocking scam

After the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) lodged a police complaint against a private company for reportedly hacking into its system, the Higher Education Department is exploring if the incident had any connection with the seat-blocking scam.

While officials in the KEA maintain that only personal details of students were hacked and leaked, the department is not ruling out the possibility of the data being used by agents to approach candidates and involve them in the medical seat scam. “We have been asked to check if meritorious students were contacted and asked to play a role in the scam. This is a serious issue that needs to be probed,” a source in the Higher Education Department said.

Police complaint

After parents and students alleged that their personal data, which had been submitted in online application forms, had been compromised, the KEA has lodged a police complaint against a private company for reportedly hacking into its system. KEA officials, however, pointed out that while the complaint was lodged in July, an FIR was registered only last week.

Many students complained that they started receiving messages from engineering colleges after they registered for the Common Entrance Test (CET), the gateway to professional courses including engineering, agriculture, and Pharm D. The personal details of students and parents, including mobile phone numbers, were collected. KEA officials had alleged that a private agency in July hacked their database and reportedly sold the details it to agents in Telangana and Odisha.

The search and seizure operations on two medical institutions by the Income Tax Department had unearthed the medical seat scam where meritorious students get admission in a medical college, but also end up blocking seat on the advice of agents in several colleges or deemed universities.

Minister reponds

However, Higher Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan said they would first ask the police to investigate those responsible for the data leak and only later analyse what the data was used for.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:47:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/data-leak-dept-to-probe-link-to-seat-blocking-scam/article30079389.ece

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