India Launches New App To Reduce Spread Of COVID19

Last month, India launched Aarogya Setu, a health bridge app similar to the one Australians are using. The app uses Bluetooth and as GPS tracking system that can immediately alert its users who may have come in contact with residents who later turn out to be infected with Corona Virus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that India, with the world’s second-largest population after China, would extend nationwide curbs for another two weeks from Monday, but allow “considerable relaxations” in lower-risk areas.

Aarogya Setu 5omindsThe Ministry of Home Affairs made it mandatory that Aarogya Setu shall be used by all employees, both private and public sector.

Company heads will be held responsible “to ensure 100% coverage” among employees.

Officials at the technology ministry and a lawyer who framed the privacy policy for Aarogya Setu told Reuters the app needed to be on at least 200 million phones for it to be effective in a population of 1.3 billion.

It is estimated that about half a billion people have smart phones, but has only been downloaded 83 million times.

The app’s compulsory use is raising concerns among privacy advocates, who say it is unclear how the data will be used and who stress that India lacks privacy laws to govern the app.

5omindsUdbhav Tiwari, Public Policy Advisor for internet browser company Mozilla said, “such a move should be backed by a dedicated law which provides strong data protection cover is under the oversight of an independent body” .

New Delhi has said the app will not infringe on privacy as all data is collected anonymously.