We missed this earlier: In a ruling on April 24, the Kerala High Court said that the government of Kerala must anonymise the COVID-19 related data it has collected so far through software provided by Sprinklr, an American company founded by a Malayali expatriate in the US. “The Government of Kerala is directed to inform every citizen, from whom data is to be taken in future, that such data is likely to be accessed by Sprinklr or other third party service providers and their specific consent to such effect shall be obtained in the necessary forms or formats,” the court added in a judgement by a two-judge bench led by Justice Devan Ramachandran.
The court also restrained Sprinklr, which runs a portal for health workers in Kerala to record house visits, from advertising the fact that it has COVID-19 patient data. The court added that Sprinklr “shall not use or exploit any such data, or the name and the official logo of the Government of Kerala, directly or indirectly, for any commercial benefit and will deal with such in full confidence to the citizens of Kerala.”
The company was at the heart of a privacy-related furour when opposition leaders in Kerala questioned the basis of the government’s deal with the company. Sprinklr has offered its services for free to the government for a period of six months, the state government told the Kerala High Court. Advocate NS Nappinai, representing the government, told the court that protections on Amazon Web Services, where Sprinklr’s data is stored, had enough protections to prevent it from being exposed. On jurisdiction, the Kerala government admitted that it accepted the standard terms and conditions that bound the government to pursue any legal proceedings against the company only in New York. However, the government added, the data was hosted in India, so some level of liability in India would be ensured.
Sprinklr offers a product for governments — Citizen Experience Management — that can be implemented within 7 days during the COVID-19 pandemic so that governments can “bring immediate relief to panicky citizens”. The product includes building information portals, tracking the spread of the pandemic, and setting up different communication channels between the government and its citizens. The company has two offices in India in Delhi and Bengaluru.