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MyGov India: Aarogya Setu App doesn’t allow third party access

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Aarogya Setu app privacy
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The Aarogya Setu application developed by the government of India, helps people assess the risk of contracting the coronavirus infection. The app that has already been downloaded by 90 million people was made mandatory for all private and public offices with a central government circular.

But this has rather become a topic of debate in terms of privacy. On the face of it, installing an app and giving it access to your device’s present and historic location data seems like a small price to pay in exchange for finding out if you may have unintentionally come in contact with now-detected Covid-19 patients. This gives a headache of private data access. The other coin of the debate puts a simple question mark: Is Data Privacy the Wrong Concern to have Right Now?

But to answer all of this MyGov has assured that most of the generated data that may contain private identifiers are encrypted locally and fully anonymized to protect identity.

The series of tweet said the following:

The app requires you to enter your mobile number and certain personal information at the time of registration. All this information submitted is securely encrypted and stored on the server. On registration, the app assigns you a unique, anonymised, randomly generated device ID. The linking of device ID to mobile number is one time, and is securely encrypted and stored in a server. All future interactions from device to server is done through device ID only.

No personal information is exchanged post the registration. Thus, all processing of contact tracing and risk assessment is done in an anonymized manner. When you come in proximity of other people with this app installed, it stores encrypted information of this interaction in a secure manner on your mobile-only.

Information on your social interactions is NOT sent to the server in most cases, except when you have come in contact with someone who has later been diagnosed high risk or your self-assessment categorizes you at risk.

The government of India will use your information ONLY for administering necessary medical interventions. Your data is NOT going to be used for any other purpose. No third party has access to data.

Given the present situation, it remains to be seen if MyGov India’s new statement goes any length in addressing the questions around privacy that have come up, with regards to the Aarogya Setu app.

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Radhika Sharma

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