The government was pushing to promote this app, and now, even the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi has asked us to download and use this particular app that comes from the NIC. There have been doubts about it being an information-gaining tool for the government and nothing good for the users. Let’s check out what the Aarogya Setu app is all about.

To begin with, the Aarogya Setu app tracks your whereabouts through Bluetooth and LOcation information and using them, a social graph is generated to determine your interaction with someone who could have tested positive for COVID-19.

If someone you have come in close proximity with has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be alerted about the same. And you also would get to know about the instructions for self-isolation.

The app does tell you that the data will be shared with the Government of India but there is no mention about which particular departments will have access to the data. Internet Freedom Foundation prepared a report and said that the app’s privacy policy “does not specify which departments or ministry or officials will be the ones accessing that data”,

Now, what information does the app need?

Your phone number – The reason for this is given as a situational one. In case you met someone a week back at a gathering or were in close proximity of someone unknown at a public place, and in a few days they test positive for COVID-19, the government will trackback all touchpoints of that person for the past 14 days and then will send a notification to all such contacts with an advisory on the further course of action.

Your name, age, gender are needed as well once you start registering with your phone number.

A unique ID is generated for the phone number, and the log for that is maintained for a specific Bluetooth range. The aggregated data is stored on the cloud.

Once you take the self-assessment test, there are different categories, one of which you would be a part of – Green (safe or low risk), Yellow (moderate risk), Orange (high-risk), and Red (COVID-19 positive). These categories are based on the symptoms you have, whether you have traveled Internationally in recent times, whether you were in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, and more.

  • If you are in the green category, you need to maintain social distancing.
  • If you are in the yellow category, you have to follow self-isolation.
  • If you are in the orange category, data is now made non-anonymous, and the authorities are alerted and the test is recommended.
  • If you are in the red category, authorities are alerted, quarantine is imposed, and your whereabouts are tracked continuously with GPS.

Now, we might wonder what the government is hiding and doing with the data they are accumulating, but frankly, given the current situation, contact tracing is very important and if more and more number of people register and let the government know about your conditions, it will make it easier to contain the virus and help the government fight better against the virus.

Download the app, fill in the details, and let the health authorities know about the condition. That’s all is needed.

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