A delegation of the Congress party on Monday met with Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy, and asked the Centre to look into their complaint of alleged illegal accumulation and integration of personal data of citizens in Telangana by the state government through its 'Samagra Vedika' initiative.
Led by All India Congress Spokesperson Dr. Sravan Dasoju, the delegation met Kishan Reddy at his office in New Delhi and accused the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) of misusing the data for political gains.
Referring to a speech delivered by Principal Secretary of IT Department Jayesh Ranjan in Hyderabad on July 5, the Congress said that the details of 'Citizen 360' initiative, as revealed by the IAS officer, were both shocking and disturbing.
"The statements made by Jayesh Ranjan clearly reflect that the government of Telangana has illegally indulged in secretive collection, integration and storage of data, more particularly, private and personal information of the citizens without their permission or consent," Sravan Dasoju alleged.
"It is apparent that the Telangana government is literally tracking every digital transaction of citizens from various government departments, private organisations and banks and financial institutions including personal emails, passwords, etc.," the Congress leader's complaint stated.
Sravan alleged that the Telangana Government appeared to have dubious intent to utilise this massive peopleās data for political gain.
"Innocent citizens, as a part of their day-to-day general transactions and requirements, furnished information before various governmental and private entities without knowing that the Telangana government is indulged in preparing their digital foot prints with the help of unknown algorithms," he said.
Sravan contended that the action by the Telangana government was a violation of Article 14, which deals with equality before law, and Article 21, which ensures personal liberty, of the Constitution.
He also alleged that the Telangana government did not implement adequate data protection and security measures to secure this data and claimed that no periodic data security audits seem to have been conducted.
"Privileged access has been given to private and political persons and citizens' personal and confidential data has landed into the hands of people with vested interests, including the TRS party. The callous or premeditated actions of the Telangana government cause a potential threat to the personal information of the citizens and their right to privacy," he alleged.
The Congress demanded that Union Ministry of Home Affairs appoint and conduct an independent and fair investigation into the actions of the Telangana government.