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Kerala govt. website compromised PDS Beneficiary data (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Kerela Govt. compromised PDS beneficiary data
The Kerala government may have compromised the privacy of Public Distribution System beneficiaries, by making available their personal information online.

Details
Personal data such as monthly income, electoral card details, consumer numbers of power and cooking gas connections of 1.5 crore residents were published on the Civil Supplies website, throwing open the possibility of misuse by private companies and individuals. 

A capable team can download the entire data in a few hours and use it in myriad ways. Even the neighbourhood mischief-maker could use the data for other purposes. Such situations happen because there is little awareness on data security at the top level in government departments.

Background
The Civil Supplies Department released the draft list of 1.54 crore PDS beneficiaries, prepared as part the Food Security Act, 2013, on its website civilsupplieskerala.gov.in last week.The list was published so that the public could verify their personal data and apply for corrections, if necessary, before new ration cards are printed next year.

The list of beneficiaries for each ward is available as a single report, from which individual ration card numbers can be obtained.

This number can be used in the ‘View ration card details’ page, where the personal details of individuals of a particular family are available. These include date of birth, gender, job, monthly salary, electoral identity card number, consumer numbers of power and cooking gas connections, besides information on any welfare pensions or housing schemes.

Ironically, the personal details of top politicians can also be obtained using the name of their spouse.



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