IS AAROGYA SETU APP HEALTHY FOR YOUR PRIVACY

IS AAROGYA SETU APP HEALTHY FOR YOUR PRIVACY

Government of India On April 2, 2020 has launched an application named Aarogya Setu app which acts as COVID 19 contact tracing app

WHAT IS AROGYA SETU APP?

When the whole world is finding it extremely difficult to deal with COVID-19 outbreak, Government of India On April 2, 2020 has launched an application named Aarogya Setu app which acts as COVID 19 contact tracing app. This application has been downloaded by nine crore people and the government is targeting on a number of 30 crore downloads.
 

HOW THE AAROGYA SETU APP FUNCTIONS?

This app basically works by using smartphone’s Bluetooth and GPS location services. It tracks the graph of social circle of a person and lets them know if they have or had an interaction with a tested COVID-19 positive patient. As soon as the user comes in contact with such patients it issues an alert giving the distance range in which that suspected person is. If the user has contacted or is in proximity of a COVID-19 positive patient, this app alerts as “user identified “at risk” for being in proximity within the radius of 500 meters (for example) of a person who tested positive for COVID-19”. It notifies you if you have come in close proximity with a positive patient over the past 30 days’ time period. As per the details of this application if neither the user nor any other person with whom the user has contacted in the past 45 days are both negative then the data will be automatically deleted after a time period of 45 days.
 

AAROGYA SETU AND HEALTH OF USER’S PRIVACY

Whenever an application is launched on digital platform there are few issues which are always associated with its launching. The major one being privacy and data security breach issues. The same is holding true in case of this app also. Let's highlight the major concerns which are raised by various forums regarding the various aspects of this application:

  1. The Indian Army has warned its personnel to be aware while downloading this app, as Pakistani agencies have designed a malicious application which looks almost similar to the Aarogya Setu app. They have named it Aarogya Setu.APK. The link of this malware is being shared by them on WhatsApp groups of army personnel. This is the reason why army has warned its personal against this malware application download.
     
  2. In Noida, this app has been made a mandatory to downloads for all the office going persons. If you do not have this application you will either have to pay Rs.1000 as a fine or face six months jail term for the act of non-downloading the Aarogya Setu app. As per the experts of law this mandatory download order will have to pass the test of law.
     
  3. During the process of downloading this application, when the app asks for permissions there is one clause which states that the government will not be responsible if the users' data gets leaked . This liability clause has become a major cause of concern as legal experts and the tech experts suggest that this clause vanishes the responsibility of the agency to protect the users’ data.
     
  4. Citing the flaws in the app, one International French ethical hacker has warned the government that the privacy of all the Indians who have downloaded this application is at stake. Although the Government of India has stated that there is no data or security breach by this application and reiterated that this application never reveals the personal identity of the user.
     
  5. This application has been red flagged by New Delhi-based software freedom Law Centre and internet freedom foundation (IFF) pointing to the lack of transparency of the application.

To sum up, although the Government of India is assuring the people that the  Aarogya Setu application is of high importance during these testing times but at the same time measures should also be taken to make this app foolproof .The Government should also address all those security concerns which are being raised by various corners of the society. This will help in increasing the effectivity of this application which will ultimately be beneficial to the citizens.
 

EDITED BY DR. RATN RANJAN PANDEY 

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