Last week a report suggested that the Indian government is working on a mobile app that will be used for tracking people who’re likely to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
This Thursday we’ve got our first sighting on the Aarogya Setu mobile app which has been developed by the country’s government. The word ‘Aarogya’ means health and setu means bridge in Hindi. The app is now available for users on Google Play Store as well as Apple’s app store.
The same developers have made apps like mParivahan, which has helped in digitising vehicle documents for citizens in the country. Talking about the Setu app, the TNW report believes this is the final version of the CoWin-20 app, which was spotted on the app store last week.
We managed to get hold of the app on Android, and the features are similar to what we saw with the CoWin-20 app. The app utilises the location data of your phone as well as Bluetooth connectivity data to ascertain your contact history with other people.
The app wants the user to set the location sharing status to ‘always’ which ensures their movement is tracked to each and every point.
The full details of app permission clearly mentions the person’s data will be shared only with the Government of India. And their name and number will not disclosed to the public at any time.
After this, you’re supposed to put details like; name, gender, age, and profession as well as to know if you’ve travelled abroad in the past 30 days. By agreeing to the terms, you are greeted to the main page where your level of infection status is notified in different colours.
The app even shares a list of helpline numbers for different states, allowing people to inform the authorities of any infected person in their surroundings. In addition to this, you also have a chatbot that asks you basic questions like age, showed any COVID-19 like symptoms and travelled abroad.
This is basically what every platform is asking right now. But for this app to work, people need to be heading out, which is not likely to happen to till at least 14 April in the country.
Even then, voluntarily feeding data is unlikely to garner significant results, especially when more than 400 million people will not be part of the tracking program, since they don’t have a smartphone in the country.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)