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Due process not followed in the Kerala-Sprinklr deal, no clarity on data privacy: Expert committee

Due process was not followed by Kerala’s IT Department in finalising the contract with US-based data analytics platform Sprinklr, a report by an enquiry committee set up by the state government concluded. All agreements were not negotiated or discussed “threadbare”, and the IT Department granted “omnibus rights” on data to Sprinklr. Alarmingly, the committee found significant inconsistencies in the auditing process of Sprinklr’s systems, and concluded that there was very little visibility into the data security practices of the company. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's—who also holds the Information Technology portfolio—approval was never taken, and the then Principal IT Secretary, M Sivasankar brokered the deal with Sprinklr, the committee found. What's Sprinklr, and why was it used? Kerala briefly used products made by Sprinklr, founded by a Malayali expatriate, for the purpose of COVID-19 containment on a pro-bono basis. The offer was to host people's data placed under COVID-surveillance on Sprinklr's data analytics platform, process the data, and provide analysis on it. Records of 1.82 lakh people were entered into Sprinklr’s platform. However, the deal 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, and accused the state government of sharing personal medical details of people placed under COVID-19 surveillance with a private American company. Congress’s Ramesh Chennithala had also demanded an anti-corruption enquiry into the Vijayan-led left government. In the wake of that controversy, the state government had formed a two-member enquiry committee to investigate any…

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