India’s Covid-19 contact tracing app Aarogya Setu is “absolutely robust, safe and secure” in terms of privacy protection and data security, said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also dismissed the charges by the opposition that the app breaches privacy.
Mr Prasad told sources, “This is a technological invention of India — Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, our scientists, NIC, Niti Aayog and some private (entities) — whereby it is a perfectly accountable platform to help in the fight against COVID-19.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed the app raises serious data security and privacy concerns. He further alleged the Aarogya Setu app is a “sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private operator, with no institutional oversight”.
“Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent,” Rahul Gandhi had said.
Opposing the claim, Mr Prasad said, “It is safe and secure. The data is in an encrypted form. Most important, it is for the safety of Indians in public interest because it cautions you in the event there is a COVID-infected person in your vicinity.”
“It is a very robust invention of technology and many other countries are using similar applications to fight COVID-19. And the second most important point is that the data is limited. Routine data remains for 30 days and in the event you are infected, then (for) 45 to 60 days. Then automatically it will vanish,” he explained.
The Aarogya Setu app is for smartphones. The Home Union Ministry has directed all government and private sector employees to download the app. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all the countrymen to download the app claiming it will be a great step to combat coronavirus.