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Arogya Setu App: Functionality and Privacy Challenges

Privacy Security

Aarogya Setu App

Throughout its development journey, the whole world has been witnessing numerous scientific and technological advancements. However, in this struggle, it is often forgotten that any kind of development will not prove sustainable if the public does not respect or respect human rights. These human rights also include the 'right to privacy'. According to the decisions of the Supreme Court, 'Right to Privacy' is placed under the category of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Following the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid increase in the number of dead, large tech companies such as Google and Facebook have stepped up their efforts to help the government regain control of the pandemic. According to The Washington Post, Google and Facebook will collect the users' location data from smartphones and share it with the government in the fight against this epidemic. After the US, these companies have also announced that they are talking to the government of the United Kingdom and some telecom companies to share such data to combat the disease in these countries. The Government of India has also attempted to provide information related to persons and remedies infected with COVID-19 through 'Aarogya Setu'. But at the same time the governments of various countries are being accused of violating the privacy of citizens.
This article will attempt to analyze the importance of the right to privacy, the functioning of the Arogya Setu App, its features and its concerns.

 About Arogya Setu App

Arogya Setu App

• The Arogya Setu App has been prepared through Public-Private Partnership and launched on Google Play Store.

• The main objective of this app will be to provide information related to persons infected with COVID-19 and remedies.

• This app is available in 11 languages ​​as well as a list of helpline numbers for all the states of the country.

Features of the app

• The Arogya Setu app will use Bluetooth technology, algorithms (Algorithm), artificial intelligence to assess the risk of corona virus in a person based on their activities.

• Once installed in a smartphone, this app can identify the installation of a sanitary bridge in a nearby phone.

• This app can assess the risk of infection based on certain parameters.

Function of the app

• If someone comes in contact with COVID-19 positive person, the app will provide information about taking care along with sending instructions.

• According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the app will track the 'contact with others' of its users and alert the authorities in case of any user suspected of being in contact with an infected person. In the case of any of these contacts being tested positive, this application can calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters.

Privacy concerns

Privacy security of aarogya setu app

• Many experts have expressed privacy concerns regarding this app. However according to the central government, to ensure the privacy of a person, the data of the people will be kept safe in the local storage in their phone and it will be used only when the user comes in contact with someone whose COVID-19 check is positive / positive. Ho.

• According to experts, there is not enough information from the central government on what data will be collected, how long it will be stored and in what tasks it will be used.

• The government is not making any guarantee that this data will be destroyed once the situation improves.

• The use of data being collected through electronic surveillance would violate the right to privacy as well as violate the order of the Supreme Court stating the right to privacy as a constitutional right.

• Just as the Aadhaar number has become a surveillance system and it is being linked to everything, in the application related to corona virus, data of people is being taken, including their health data and personal information. It is not yet certain how and for how long the government will use this data.
• The most worrying fact about the COVID-19 pandemic is that governments themselves are providing sensitive information about patients and potentially infected people.

• Science magazine 'Nature' has drawn attention to the fact that countless apps and websites have been created which are publishing information from people infected with the virus from the government website.

• Researchers who research on the subject of privacy believe that they are concerned with the specific information published in each case. COVID-19 can easily identify sick individuals or quarantined people, thereby violating their right to privacy.


Privacy of users

• In such circumstances, any person can become a victim of social discrimination due to violation of privacy. Because of this, people will also run away from getting the virus tested because if they get positive test, then their information will be afraid to be public.

• This information can be misused on a large scale. E-commerce companies will create a negative list of such people and may refuse delivery to their place of residence for fear of infection.

• Governments can monitor the activities of citizens even after the problem is eliminated through the data being collected.

Why the importance of privacy

Why the importance of privacy

• Privacy is the right which is necessary to protect the autonomy and dignity of a person. In fact, it is the cornerstone of many other important rights.

• The right to privacy is like a cover for us, which protects us from unnecessary and improper interference in our lives.

• It makes us aware of our socio-economic and political status and to what extent we want to share ourselves with the world.

• It is the privacy that gives us the right to decide who has authority over our body and our thoughts?

• The importance of privacy increases even more in modern society. After the French Revolution, autocratic monarchy began to farewell to the entire world and democracy based on universal principles of equality, humanity and modernity began to spread.

• There has always been a conflict between technology and rights, and technological development has reached its highest level in the 21st century. In such a situation, privacy had to bear the brunt of state policies and technological upgrading.

• Today we all use smartphones. Whether it is Apple's iOS or Google's Android or any other operating system, when we download any app, it asks for permission to use our phone's contacts, galleries and stores etc. and only then downloaded that app can go.

• There is a danger that if a non-authorized person breaches the app's database then the privacy of the users may be endangered.

• Interference in privacy through technology is less serious than state interference. We are saying this because using technology is dependent on our will, but the state often does not care about people's will in violation of privacy.


Of course, this is a time of crisis in which extraordinary measures are needed to reduce the harm caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. The recent guidelines of the government to install Arogya Setu App has raised doubts in the minds of common people, in which personal information of citizens of the country is also being sought. Opposition and social media are opposing this order of the government and people say this is an interference in their right to privacy. In such a situation, the government should present a detailed roadmap on the Arogya Setu App to address all the doubts of the people so that all their doubts can be resolved.

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