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Explicit consent, anonymisation of personal data collected for COVID-related activities must: Kerala govt

Following directions from the Kerala High Court, the state has mandated that explicit consent be obtained for collection of sensitive personal data for COVID-related activities. It has also mandated that such data be anonymised before it is shared with any third-party, as part of guidelines released on May 18. This will apply retroactively to all COVID-related data already collected. The Kerala High Court had on April 28 directed the state government to anonymise the COVID-19 related data it has collected so far through software provided by US-based Sprinklr, which was at the heart of a privacy-related furore when opposition leaders in Kerala questioned the basis of the government’s deal with the company. The opposition had accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of sharing personal medical details of people placed under COVID-19 surveillance with Sprinklr. The guidelines, discussed in detail below, are applicable to tools developed by government agencies and any third party entities. The definition of sensitive personal data is as per the Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011, which categorises physical and mental conditions, and medical records, among others, as sensitive personal data. The provisions in the guidelines are largely in line with the Kerala High Court’s directions issued in April. The state government has also reportedly told the High Court that Sprinklr no longer has access to any COVID-related data and all of it stored only on Amazon Web Services' servers being managed by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), a state government body.…

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