Haven’t downloaded Aarogya Setu app yet? Now, govt asks your company to ensure that you do

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Updated: May 02, 2020 11:11 AM

Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory for all public and private sector employees and the organisations have been directed to ensure that their employees download the coronavirus tracking mobile application.

AarogyaSetu was developed in public-private partnership.Aarogya Setu was developed in public-private partnership.

The use of Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory by the government for the employees of all public and private sector companies and the organisations have been directed to ensure that their employees download the coronavirus tracking mobile application. “It shall be the responsibility of the head of the respective organisations to ensure 100 per cent coverage of this app among the employees,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a notification which also had the fresh guidelines for extension of the lockdown till May 17. Especially in the containment zones, 

In containment zones, the government has mandated “100 per cent Aarogya Setu app”, however, it isn’t clear whether the order will also be applicable to residents in such areas or be limited only to office and workspaces. India is the only country where the download of contact tracing application has been mandated such a measure. “This app is not secure, its source code is not open for examination and its security vulnerabilities are already being exploited,” technology lawyer and founder of Software Freedom Law Centre, Mishi Choudhary, told The Indian Express. Earlier as well, individuals and organisations have raised concerns about surveillance and violation of data privacy as the government launched the application. Food delivery workers and some other service providers, as well as all federal government employees were already mandated to use the application. 

“Once installed in a smartphone through an easy and user-friendly process, the app detects other devices with Aarogya Setu installed that come in the proximity of that phone. The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts are tested positive,” the government had said in April 2 upon the launch of the app. 

With the fresh government directive, concerns regarding privacy have resurfaced. In fact, the app has “uncanny similarities between Aarogya Setu and Fleming, the new Covid-19 tracking product developed by the NSO group, the infamous spyware maker and developer of Pegasus,” Salman Waris, a partner at TechLegis and head of their TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunication) and IP (Internet Protocol) practices, told the newspaper. There were also some media reports which said that the government now plans to make the app mandatory for travelling via public transit. 

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