Private Data of Coronavirus Patients Leaked in Balochistan

Adnan Aamir
Quetta: Private data of patients tested for Coronavirus in Balochistan has been leaked on social media, learned Balochistan Voices.
An excel file containing complete data of the patients tested for coronavirus in Quetta and Taftan has been making rounds in WhatsApp groups about Balochistan. The file contains information such as names, phone numbers, age address and other identity-specific information of all the patients.
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Leaking of the private data of the patients is against the basic medical ethics and also an infringement of the privacy rights of the patients. The leaked data also puts the patients at risk of personal harm and social stigma even if they recover from this virus.
Screenshots of the patient’s data. Names are hidden by Balochistan Voices
Screenshot showing the detailed information of the patients
According to officials in the Balochistan government this private data leaked because of the demands by different committees and cells to get this data regularly.
This data is compiled by Covid-19 Cell at the Directorate General of Health department. However, other cells on COVID-19 operating in Chief Minister Secretariat, Services, and General Administration Department and some other departments regularly ask for this data.
Once this data is shared with many people in the committees then it’s leaked. However, it’s not possible to ascertain actually which cell or person leaked the data to social media.
An official of the health department requested not to be named, said that it’s beyond comprehension that why all the cells and committees ask for this private data of the patients in the first place. The data about the number of the patients and their location should be enough for these cells, claimed the official.
During the time of medical emergencies, the controlling authorities must protect the privacy of the patients. The leakage of the private data of patients indicates that authorities have failed to do their job, claimed members of civil society.
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Adnan Aamir is founder and Editor of Balochistan Voices. He also works as an independent journalist covering politics, economy, and development. He is Digital Security Fellow of Reporters Without Borders 2019. He has also completed Chevening South Asian Journalism fellowship from the University of Westminster in 2018.