Aarogya Setu is a COVID-19 tracking mobile application developed by the National Informatics Centre that comes under the Government of India. The main purpose of the app is to bring awareness among all the citizens about Health Care. This app mainly consists of self-assessment and updates regarding Covid-19.
This is a tracking app that uses a smartphone’s GPS and Bluetooth features to track the Covid-19 infection. It is available for both Android and iOS users. Using Bluetooth technology, the Aarogya Setu app tries to determine the risk if one has been near a Covid-19 infected person (within six feet of distance). It is mainly used for contact tracing.
It works with the help of GPS and Bluetooth sensors and sends out a notification if they are around infected people by using it’s database algorithms. In the future, the Indian government is planning to use this app as an e-pass to facilitate people to travel from one place to another place. It also avails the option to donate to the PM-Cares Fund by using UPI and other modes of sending funds. It can also assess your health status by self-assessment through different questions.
75 million people have already downloaded the Arogya Setu app. Highlighting the role of a very large network of CSCs across the country, the minister said that their services may also be tapped for providing telemedicine services, especially in remote parts, during this moment of crisis. This will bring much-needed relief to the people who are finding difficulty in accessing medical services during the ongoing lockdown.
Since its launch, it has seen over 50 million downloads and has largely received positive reviews on Google Play Store. In fact, it has become a No.1 free app in the Indian mobile application market. The app is available in 11 languages including English, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Odiya.
The government has been stressing the people of the nation to download the app but a privacy-focused group of Delhi Internet Freedom Foundation(IFF) has raised concerns over the privacy issues in the app. They released a paper asking the government to give the details of whoever can access the data of the users. There is no clear indication that who is accessing the user’s data. This concern raised recently after the Kerala government has given the user data of the Kerala state people to the US medical agency.
The IFF also claimed that the involvement of health ministry is negligible. Contrary to the above statement, the Press Information Bureau has dismissed these claims saying that the app neither uses saves the location nor the data of the users. It just assesses the level of covid19 of the user and will intimate other users when a risky person is nearing them.
However, during this high time, it is necessary for all the Indians to follow what the government says. Download the app now, and you can delete it later.
-Dara Krishna Vamsi