Breach in data of COVID-19 patients in Kannur, Kasaragod

They receive calls seeking various information

Updated - April 28, 2020 09:48 am IST

Published - April 27, 2020 11:16 pm IST - KASARAGOD

The wards arranged for COVID-19 affected patients at the Kasaragod Medical College Hospital.

The wards arranged for COVID-19 affected patients at the Kasaragod Medical College Hospital.

Reports of breaches in the data of COVID-19 patients have emerged from Kasaragod and Kannur districts.

Following reports that the patients had received calls from unknown numbers seeking various details, Kasaragod District Medical Officer (DMO) A.V. Ramdas has sought a thorough inquiry.

He said though he had received no complaints from anyone so far, he had written to SP P.S. Sabu seeking an inquiry to ascertain the truth.

In the past few days, many people who recovered from COVID-19 reportedly received calls from unknown numbers.

Kasaragod District Surveillance Officer A.T. Manoj said the control room had collected details of the patients and their contacts and the information was shared with the State control room.

From national cell too

There was no possibility of a breach from the control room which was manned by the staff from the Health Department and the National Health Mission.

More information needed to be obtained to ascertain how such details went out.

Mr. Sabu said an investigation would be held. He said many patients had been in private hospitals too and the details were with the local bodies as well.

It was reported that the people had received calls from the National COVID Cell too.

Some of the incoming numbers were traced to a Bengaluru-based private company involved in data collection, he said. However, the company could not be contacted, he said.

Google Maps link

In Kannur, a Google Maps link prepared by the cyber cell using the mobile number and address of the SARS-CoV-2-affected patients and their contacts came out in the open. The police team headed by IG Vijay Sakhare, deputed as the special officer to curtail the spread of the disease, prepared the link including details of 54 COVID-19 patients and 9,000 of their contacts. This link was used to track the people and was shared with higher police officers.

Report to be submitted

“It is a serious breach. The police team should have ensured data security while preparing the link,” said T.V. Subhash, Collector. A report would be submitted to the Chief Secretary, he said. Since similar methods were used in Kasaragod as well, it was suspected that private companies could source the details through these web-based links. Mr. Sakhare was unavailable for comments.

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