Collecting call details for contact tracing is breach of privacy: Opposition

Thiruvananthapuram: A Kerala Police directive to collect call detail records (CDR) of Covid-19 patients for contact tracing has met with objections, with the Opposition alleging that the move infringes upon citizens’ right to privacy.

The government recently assigned police the task of contact tracing and ensuring compliance with quarantine and social distancing rules and control of the containment zones amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Subsequently, state police chief Loknath Behera directed the ADGP (intelligence) T.K Vinod Kumar to get the CDR of live positive cases from mobile service providers for contact tracing.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala told the media that by allowing police to collect CDR, the government violated Supreme Court orders protecting the right to privacy.

“Provisions of Indian Telegraph Act permit collecting CDR only in very serious criminal cases. Does the government see patients as criminals or is getting infected by Covid-19 a crime?” he said.

The Opposition leader said the DGP order empowering police to collect CDR would not stand judicial scrutiny.

“The order should be withdrawn immediately. The telecom companies need not hand over CDRs to police when they demand, as the police have no right to make such demands. The government is collecting CDR without the consent of patients,” he said.

Justifying the move, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said on , “It is part of deploying technology for contact tracing. Law enforcement agencies have the right to collect CDR. It is done for public health and safety. The fear that the data would be misused for any other purpose is out of place.” Asianet Online