New Delhi: The Kerala High Court on Friday restrained a US-based IT firm from analysing or processing the data related to COVID-19 patients and directed it to re-transfer to the state government, any data it has obtained. Also Read - Lockdown in Delhi: Containment Zones in Capital Rises to 102 as COVID-19 Tally Crosses 17,000-mark - Full List Here

However, the court permitted the state government to utilise the services of the firm Sprinklr, for processing data, subject to stringent conditions. Also Read - Theatres to Reopen by June 30, Not Sooryavanshi But Hollywood Biggies to Release First to Check Footfalls?

In an interim order on a plea seeking to quash of the state government’s contract with Sprinklr, a division bench, comprising Justices Devan Ramachandran and T R Ravi, also directed the state government to anonymize all data of COVID-19 patients collected by it and allow the IT firm to access data only after completing the anonymization process. Also Read - 'Rs 20 Lakh Crore Package a 'Major Step' in Making India 'Atamnirbhar': Read Full Text of PM Modi's Letter to Nation

Restraining Sprinklr from any act of breaching the confidentiality of data provided by the Kerala government, the Court directed it not to deal with the data directly or indirectly in conflict with the deal signed between the state government and the IT firm.

The Court also restrained Sprinklr from using the name or logo of the state government for its promotional purposes.

It also directed the state government to take informed consent from individuals before allowing a third party foreign company to process their data.

Earlier, the Kerala government had filed a statement in the High Court, rejecting charges of illegality in its IT contract with the firm for processing data related to COVID-19 patients and contended that initiation of penal action for breach would fall within the ambit of Indian IT Act.

The Centre had also filed a preliminary statement in connection with the case, saying sharing of sensitive data, especially of health related information of large number of people, is to be resorted to in a very careful manner.

In his plea, petitioner Balu Gopalakrishnan had said the only concern is whether the data stored in the web server of company is safe and whether it can be used by the company for monetary gains.