Prelims level : Cyber Space Challenges Mains level : GS-II Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, e-Governance- Applications, Models, Successes, Limitations, and potential; citizens charters, Transparency & Accountability and Institutional and Other Measures.
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Why in News?

  • Greenbone Sustainable Resilience, a German cyber security firm has recently published it report on Global Medical Data Leak.

About the News:

  • The report stated that medical details of over 120 million Indian patients have been leaked and made freely available on the Internet.
  • The report also places Maharashtra at the top of the States affected by the global medical data leak followed by Karnataka.
  • The report classifies countries in the “good”, “bad” and“ugly” categories based on the action taken by their governments in stopping it.
  • India ranks second in the “ugly” category, after the U.S.
  • The data leak of records includes images of CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and even pictures of the Patients.

What is the Concern?

  • The leak is worrying because the affected patients can include anyone from the common working man to politicians and celebrities.
  • In image-driven fields like politics or entertainment, knowledge about certain ailments faced by people from these fields could deal a huge blow to their image.
  • The other concern is of fake identities being created using the details, which can be misused in any possible number of ways.

What is the cause for Leakage?

  • The leak was facilitated by the fact that the Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) servers, where these details are stored, are not secure and linked to the public Internetwithout any protection, making them easily accessible to malicious elements.

Way Forward:

  • PACS Servers should be secured properly and should not be connected to public internet to avoid such kind of leakages.
  • Since these medical datas leakages lead to anti-social activities such as organ donation scandals, the particular medical institution should be held accountable for the datas.
  • Any communication between a doctor and a patient is a privileged one. A doctor or a hospital is thus ethically, legally and morally bound to Maintain Confidentiality.
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