Hitting out at the Centre’s Aarogya Setu App, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday, stated that the application raised serious data security issues
Hitting out at the Centre’s Aarogya Setu App, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday, stated that the application raised serious data security and privacy concerns. He added that the application was a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private operator, with no institutional oversight. He said that while technology can keep us safe, it must not track citizens without their consent.
Rahul Gandhi slams Aarogya Setu App
The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 2, 2020
MHA makes Aarogya Setu App mandatory
On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs amended its guidelines for the extended lockdown in India till May 17. In the notification issued by the MHA, the Centre made the use of its contact tracing app Aarogya Setu mandatory in containment zones and for all public and private entity employees. While the Centre has hailed the app as adhering to global standards, several Opposition leaders and privacy experts have raised issues with it.
The notification read, “The local authority shall ensure 100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of containment zones. Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory for all employees, both private and public. It shall be the responsibility of the Head of the respective Organizations to ensure 100% coverage of this app among the employees”.
What is the Aarogya Setu App?
The Centre’s Aarogya Setu App is currently being used for contact-tracing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The application uses Bluetooth and GPS data of the user to collect surveillance for contact tracing in Containment Zones. While it was not mandated before, the Centre has now made its download compulsory, raising security concerns and legality issues.
Experts state that the app’s usage of GPS-based location data is gaining more date than what is necessary. Moreover, experts state that the location data is not used by the app on an individual basis, but on an aggregated basis. Data analysts have also questioned why the Centre has not made the source code of the app available for examination by the larger technology community.