The use of call detail records (CDR) of a COVID-19 patient for contact tracing is a violation of constitutional rights, Kerala Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said.
The Congress leader’s statement comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state police has been using various scientific methods and technologies, including use of call detail records, to arrest the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Mr Chennithala objected to the DGP’s order to collect the call detail records of COVID-19 patients from all over the state. “It is the gross violation of Section 2 of the Telegraph Act and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution… Nobody has the right to infringe on anyone;s privacy by any means,” he said.
Mr Vijayan has, however, rejected concerns about the move intruding into the privacy of citizens and patients.
“The state police chief had given instructions to collect the call detail records of COVID-19 patients. The law enforcement agencies are allowed to collect this type of information. In Kerala, too, CDRs are used to collect patient information for the sake of public health and safety. This is the most effective way for contact tracing and we have been using this method for a few months,” the Chief Minister had told NDTV on Wednesday.
He informed that Janamaithri (people friendly) police officers, who create community understanding and generate their cooperation, will be given online behavioural training.
The criticism of the state’s contact tracing methods comes months after it earned widespread praise for its adoption of scientific methods and effectively checking the community spread of COVID-19.
India’s first coronavirus case was reported from Kerala in January.