COVID-19 tracking app:
Just two months ago, India launched its own Aarogya Setu app to track coronavirus contacts and today it has more than 100 million users . “We beat Pokémon Go,” the head of the Indian government service tells the MIT Technology Review .
How is it possible? First, after its launch, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, ‘invited’ citizens to download the application , which had considerable results: Aarogya Setu reached 50 million downloads in its first two weeks of life.
Of course, for a country whose population exceeds 1,300 million people, half a hundred million look like small change. So they went a little further: they let the Indians know that whoever did not install the app on their phone could lose their job, be fined or even go to jail .
In this way, India has become the only democratic nation worldwide that requires its residents to download their COVID-19 tracking application , according to the MIT Technology Review global database Covid Tracing Tracker. Although, yes, the ‘official’ version is that the download of the app is voluntary .
The pressures to use this system, moreover, do not come only from the Government – whose employees, of course, are obliged to use it – but the main private employers and owners also demand it.
This is the case of the residents of the city of Noida, where they are being fined and even threatening to arrest anyone who does not install the application on their phone. If you get caught without the app installed you can face a fine of 1,000 rupees – about 12 euros – or up to six months in jail , reports BuzzFeed .
Questionable privacy – Aarogya Setu
As if this were not enough in terms of infringement of citizens ‘rights, the system used by this application, called Aarogya Setu (https://www.mygov.in/aarogya-setu-app/)-‘a bridge to health’ in Hindi- is much more intrusive than the one developed in other Countries : Track events and location of contacts via Bluetooth to warn of potential contacts with the disease, as many other apps do , but also give each user a color-coded ‘badge’ that shows the risk infection and offers access to telemedicine, an electronic pharmacy and diagnostic services.
To continue adding, India does not have a national data privacy law , and therefore it is not clear who has access to the data from the application and in what situations. And the developer roster, made up largely of volunteers from the private sector, is not entirely public.