August 23, 2020

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Police can obtain call data records of Covid patients: Kerala HC | India News – Times of India

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KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Friday disposed of a PIL questioning the collection of call data records (CDR) of Covid-19 patients by the state police for contact tracing, but made it clear that the state government should ensure only the tower location details are used and confidentiality is strictly maintained.
After considering opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala’s PIL challenging the DGP’s August 11 circular to senior officers to go ahead with the proposal to collect CDRs, the division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly accepted police’s undertaking that the data would be used only for ascertaining the tower locations of Covid patients.
On the petitioner’s plea to implead telecom service providers in the case, the court said the retrieval of CDRs should be seen and considered in the light of the daily spike in Covid-19 cases and the peculiar circumstances the state has found itself in because of that.
The government had informed the court through a statement filed on behalf of the DGP that the police were only finding out the tower location of Covid patients and those suspected of having contracted the virus. Tower details are essential for creating route maps for effective contact tracing, the government contended.
The statement mentioned that the police were getting CDRs from telecom service providers in “comma separated value (CSV) format” and that it was not possible to obtain tower details alone.
The government also said in the affidavit that CDRs were being accessed in strict confidentiality, used for the limited purpose of identifying places an individual has visited and thereafter destroyed. No third party has access to the CDRs, it added.

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