Kerala

Oppn. turns the heat on govt. over ULCCS

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‘Agency compromised national security, privacy rights’

The UL Technology Solutions (ULTS), a subsidiary of the CPI(M)-controlled Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS), came under the spotlight in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition portrayed the software firm as a ‘paper company’ propped up by the CPI(M) to help the party indirectly profit from government contracts awarded to the ‘blacklisted’ firm at questionable rates and without tender.

Congress legislator K.S. Sabarinathan said the police had awarded ULTS a ‘largesse of ₹35 lakhs’ to develop a new application for passport verification based on blockchain technology when a robust software tool created in-house was already in use by the law enforcement. The police accorded the ‘CPI(M) surrogate’ company unrestricted access to the national law enforcement's highly guarded Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) to aid the software development.

Sensitive data

He said the ULTS could siphon off sensitive CCTNS data regarding crimes. Soon, CPI(M) bosses would possess the power of having classified information on citizens at their fingertips. The police have rendered the public vulnerable. The ULTS was notorious for failed projects. It had messed up the online reservation project of the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The firm’s ‘string of failures’ included software solution for the KSRTC e-ticketing project and the contract to digitise Assembly proceedings. The firm did not have the requisite ISO 27001 certification to execute software projects.

The police also disregarded a cautionary expert committee report that blockchain technology was not ideal for police applications since classified information could percolate from a single secure digital repository to a relatively porous distributed network. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the police had not given the ULTCS access to the CCTNS. They had allowed the firm to develop a passport verification application suited to the CCTNS environment to find out whether an applicant was accused in any criminal case or not.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 2:58:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/oppn-turns-the-heat-on-govt-over-ulccs/article29969559.ece

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