Karnataka government wary of using CDR model | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Officials managing the pandemic will continue using geographic information system (GIS) to trace contacts of Covid-19 patients even while the state takes a call on using call data records (CDR) of patients for the purpose. CDR were used in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, but ran into controversy after concerns were raised over privacy.
Officials say a proposal has been sent to the government seeking approval to use CDR. “The model is simple,” an official said. “CDR of a patient is used to find out who s/he interacted with over the previous 14 days. The government then reaches out to these ‘contacts’ and tracks their symptoms.”
Sources say officials are keen on using CDRs since many patients are refusing to reveal their contacts. However, the government has been sitting on the proposal for some time now, fearful of blowback.
But one official defended the model saying, “The issue of privacy does not hold merit as the poor would not be bothered if their call records are used. “It is only intellectuals or those who can voice their opinion, who are raising concerns.”
Senior cabinet ministers say the proposal was shot down previously since there was no precedence on CDR use in the fight against the pandemic. “As technology goes, GPS and GIS is more than enough to track contacts. Using CDR will be a strict no at this point due to potential blowback,” said a minister.
Neither chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar nor Covid-19 affairs minister K Sudhakar responded to queries on whether a decision has been taken to utilise CDR, but law minister JC Madhuswamy said: “At present we have no proposal to use CDR for contact tracing.”

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Sagar Biswas

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