In an attempt to help students belonging to SC, ST categories, the SC/ST Development Department of Kerala had launched an Egrantz website. The department offers scholarship to 10th pass students to pursue higher education. But while helping these students, one element that the government overlooked was the security features of the website. Till Wednesday, personal information of students was easily accessible to anyone accessing the website.
A tab called ‘Student profile’ on the website easily provides information about students including their bank account, Aadhaar number and details of scholarship.
The student profile page does not have any column where it asks for Aadhar details or Account details or even SSLC registration number.
If one fills district, institution, and course and clicks search, a list of students are displayed with a hyper link of ‘view profile’ besides their name.
The link then mentions personal details like Account number, Branch, Unique Id and other Scholarship details of the student. This is a breach of information of the students and such negligence from the department makes the backward class students vulnerable.
We tried finding out, whether this was just the case with one student. We were surprised to see that there were several students whose personal information was available on this government website.
However, the ‘View Profile’ tab on the same website allows only people who enter Aadhaar number and bank account number to view details.
Manager of Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Renjith said, “I am not aware of this but, if it is true then I agree it is a matter of concern. It has to be reported to the required department.”
The Principal Secretary of the SC development department, Dr. Venu V, directed us to the Director of the Department, P.M. Ali Asgar Pasha .
Pasha told TNM on Thursday that the error had been rectified. “Presently, the displaying of privacy related information has been stopped since objection in this regard was raised. Now the student who enters his Aadhar Number, Account Number and SSLC Register Number alone can see his profile and his profile only.”