From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Global Report on Medical Data Leak
Mains level : Medical administartion in India and its loopholes
Medical details of over 120 million Indian patients have been leaked and made freely available on the Internet, according to a recent report.
Global Report on Medical Data Leak
- It is published by Greenbone Sustainable Resilience, a German cybersecurity firm.
- The first report was published in October 2019 in which Greenbone revealed a widespread data leak of a massive number of records, including images of CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and even pictures of the patients.
- The follow-up report, which was published, classifies countries in the “good”, “bad” and “ugly” categories based on the action taken by their governments after the first report was made public.
- India ranks second in the “ugly” category, after the U.S.
Highlights of the report
- As per the follow-up report, Maharashtra ranks the highest in terms of the number of data troves available online, with 3,08,451 troves offering access to 6,97,89,685 images.
- The next is Karnataka, with 1,82,865 data troves giving access to 1,37,31,001 images.
- The number of data troves containing this sensitive data went up by a significant number in the Indian context a month after the initial report was published.
- It is a notable fact for the systems located in India, that almost 100% of the studies (data troves) allow full access to related images stated the report.
What led to the leaks?
- Greenbone’s original report says the leak was facilitated by the fact that the Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) servers, where these details are stored.
- These servers are not secure and linked to the public Internet without any protection, making them easily accessible to malicious elements.
Impact of leaks
- 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.