The government of India has finally released its official COVID-19 tracker mobile application. Announced officially earlier today, the AarogyaSetu app has been introduced on both Android and iOS, and is aimed at primarily tracking the community transmission and tracing the contact and travel history of individuals that are quarantined, infected or suspected of being susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. As disclosed, the AarogyaSetu app uses both the location data and Bluetooth-based proximity tracking on users’ phones, in order to keep a track of individuals that may have either been carriers of the COVID-19 disease or been affected by it.
The application comes with an interactive COVID-19 risk management window which clearly states to users that information collected through the app will be used by the government of India to track and manage the COVID-19 spread throughout the country. It also offers a self assessment test for users to take, which can be repeated through the app in case any symptoms are developed. The app recommends that users keep location to always on, as well as their Bluetooth connections, but does not state it as mandatory. In data sharing, it states, “The app does not allow your name and number to be disclosed to the public at large at any time.”
The AarogyaSetu app has been already made available in 11 Indian languages in order to help local deployment of the app and encourage users to share the data with the central government and not just individual state governments. In terms of state-level implementation of such technologies, the Maharashtra government yesterday announced MahaKavach, although the app has not been made available for everyone, and is being selectively sent to individuals at risk by the government. Multiple private coronavirus tracker platforms have also been proposed by private developers, although with the concerns of privacy at hand, it remains to be seen if such apps find any audience.