Kerala orders probe into app-based bird survey

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GILVESTER ASSARY
Published Mar 29, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Achuthanandan said eBird app is being downloaded on the mobile phones of the volunteers who are engaged in the survey.
Representative image
 Representative image

Thiruvananthapuram: Forest Minister K. Raju has ordered a detailed inquiry into the survey being carried out by some activists using eBird mobile app to study the distribution and abundance of birds in the state.

The minister told DC that Principal Chief Conservator of Forests P.K. Kesavan would conduct a  study into the issue  in the wake of the demand raised by former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

 

"I got a  letter from VS today. I have asked PCCF to submit a detailed report at the earliest," the  minister said.

In a statement here,  Achuthanandan alleged that there were reports that vital information on forests, wildlife sanctuaries, biodiversity-rich regions and wildlife parks were being stolen using eBird mobile app. Information of protected areas, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, flora and fauna was being transferred to a server based in the United States.

There are apprehensions that even the location of endemic and endangered species of birds spotted in the interiors of protected forest regions in the state would be made available on the app.

He said there was no clearance from the centre and state government for employing the app. E-bird is not a survey tool but digital data collection mechanism. “Since the main server is in the US, the Indian laws would not be applicable to check the misuse of app,” he added.

Achuthanandan said eBird app is being downloaded on the mobile phones of the volunteers who are engaged in the survey. “We have no idea whether the data uploaded by volunteers is being accessed by other agencies. There is no monitoring mechanism in place,” he added. He called for  legislation to prevent the use of eBird app for survey.

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