Amid the allegations of data leak of candidates who appeared in NEET-UG 2018 conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Board has categorically debunked the claims. CBSE officials said that it appears to be the “handiwork of certain unscrupulous persons with the objective of duping the gullible public”.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has written a letter to the CBSE over media reports claiming a “massive breach” of data of candidates who appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test this year, and demanded an inquiry into the matter. In the letter to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) chairperson Anita Karwal, he called for putting in place additional safeguards to prevent such a breach in the future. “I am shocked by this wide scale theft of personal data that has compromised the privacy of candidates across the country,” Gandhi wrote in the letter dated July 20.

It is alleged that the data of around two lakh candidates who had appeared in NEET-UG 2018 conducted by CBSE has been breached and is available for a price.

“The entire data of more than 13,26,725 candidates of NEET-UG was maintained only in encrypted format with strict security measures with National Informatics Centre (NIC). So much so that, even in the printout of the confirmation page downloaded by the candidates, the vital details such as identification documents, mobile and email -id are in the encrypted format,” said CBSE.

CBSE informed that the National Informatics Centre (NIC) hosts several government data in a highly secured environment. Even when CBSE obtains data from NIC for the purpose of allotment of Roll Numbers and results, it does not contain personal details such as mobile numbers, details of identification documents, email IDs, etc.

“The results are declared by CBSE through NIC and do not contain mobile number, email Id and other identification details of the candidates. If any communication is made by CBSE with candidates through SMS or email id, the same is sent with the registration number of the candidates,” stated press release from the board.

CBSE said that after the declaration of the results, the data of all 13,26,725 NEET-UG 2018 candidates was given to Directorate General Health Service, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for providing the same to the states and other counselling authorities for the purpose of counselling of 85 percent seats under their jurisdiction.

“This data is also shared with the concerned states in a highly secured format and is password protected too. Therefore, there is no question of any breach of data or any misuse of data by CBSE. Rather, CBSE has a fool proof system of conducting such prestigious and high stake examinations such as NEET-UG, and ensures data protection in the interest of examinees and to uphold the sanctity of public examinations. CBSE has requested NIC to take appropriate cognizance of the issue,” stated the release.

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