India Mandates Aarogya Setu App For People In Red Zone & Private Sector

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The Indian government has now made the Aarogya Setu app mandatory for private-sector employees. Earlier, the Centre enforced the app on all government employees, even those working in public sector organizations.

The Union Home Ministry has also said downloading the Aarogya Setu app is a must for people located in Coronavirus containment zones. This means that all residents in containment areas — declared as red zone (hotspots) and orange zones by state and district administrations will have to download the app.

The announcements come as part of instructions provided by the government to extend the nationwide lockdown by two weeks from May 4.

Penalty For Not Downloading Aarogya Setu App

India has asked private and public organization heads to ensure that their employees download the app. The order issued also states that “any negligence, if proven, on the part of a director, manager, secretary or any other official shall lead to punishment.”

For those who are still unaware, the Aarogya Setu app is India’s Coronavirus tracker app that uses Bluetooth-based contact tracing and GPS data to find out if they been in contact with COVID-19 patient or their vicinity. The app also provides important information along with ways to avoid Coronavirus infection.

Aarogya Setu Will Be Made Compulsory For All Indians Eventually

Going by the government’s recent decision and another report that says Aarogya Setu app will come “pre-installed” on all smartphones by default, we can say that India eventually plans to force the app on all citizens.

In addition to the smartphone-based Aarogya app, the IT ministry is also planning to launch the Aarogya Setu app for feature phones that run on a 2G network and don’t necessarily come with Bluetooth.

The Indian government is already in talks with smartphone manufacturers in the country for the default installation of the app. However, privacy concerns regarding the safety and data security of the app have started to come up.

The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) stated: “The Aarogya Setu app, which was initially touted as a voluntary measure, has effectively been made mandatory for gig workers and government employees. This is despite failing to adhere to data protection standards and lacking algorithmic accountability.”

We have already seen failed data protection attempts in the case of Aadhaar cards. Another failure to protect the data being collected at a national level would be a privacy disaster.

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