– globalbihari bureau
New Delhi: Pushed to the backfoot over the privacy issues concerning Arogya Setu App, the government reiterated its claims that ‘Privacy first’ has been the principle on which the app has been developed.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had made the charge that the app was a “sophisticated surveillance system” and soon some cyber experts too had joined the chorus.
On Monday, Ajay Sawhney, Chairman of Empowered Group 9 (which deals with Technology and Data Management), claimed Government uses information on users in Aarogya Setu app, “only for health interventions, not for any other purpose”.
“Privacy is a very important feature of the app,” Sawhney said. He claimed out of 9.8 crore Aarogya Setu app users, data of only nearly 13,000 COVID positive people was stored in the system and this too was deleted 60 days after date of cure.
He further claimed:
- Personal identity of AarogyaSetu app users is not revealed to anyone, it is being used only for protecting the user and others from COVID19.
- Data for only 30 days is stored on the app; data of positive patients too is deleted from the server, 60 days after the date of cure.
- Location data is used in order to facilitate containment actions and to protect the community.
- When two Aarogya Setu app users come in contact, information of one contact is stored in the other person’s device in encrypted form. This is stored in the server only when the user becomes COVID-19 positive.
- A unique anonymous randomized ID is generated for the device of a new user, only this ID is used, name of user is not used by the app.
- The movement history of positive patients is combined with the self-assessment data submitted by others, to enable identification of potential hot spot areas and take preventive action; Information on 697 such spots have been sent to states/districts.
- Around 1.4 lakh Aarogya Setu App users have been alerted via blue-tooth contact tracing about possible risk of infection due to proximity to infected patients.
- Aarogya Setu App will soon reach a user base of 10 crore; it has created a world record in being the fastest app to reach 5 crore users.
- Aarogya Setu IVRS platform has been enabled for feature phones and landlines, on giving a missed call on the number 1921, a return call will be given and further assistance will be given.
- When data of bluetooth contacts and self-assessment is received, they are called to find out their condition and needy patients are directed to health and district administration.
- An app has been developed which enables field level officers to mark hot spots and containment zones on map, so that required guidelines can be enforced in that area
- COVID-19 Saavdhaan enables giving alerts to people in a small area, Quarantine Alert System helps quarantine monitoring and Migration system helps people who migrate from one place to another. AYUSH Sanjivani App has been launched to assess impact of AYUSH interventions.
“Around 1.4 lakh Aarogya Setu App users have been alerted via blue-tooth contact tracing about possible risk of infection due to proximity to infected patients,” Sawhney said. He added: ” Aarogya Setu App has been playing and will continue to play a crucial role in India’s fight against COVID-19. The app has been developed in order to alert people before they come in contact with infected patients, it also enables self-assessment.”