Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday raised data security and privacy concerns over the Aarogya Setu mobile application. Gandhi said that the COVID-19 tracking app is a sophisticated surveillance system.
Taking to Twitter, the Wayanad MP wrote, "The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight - raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent."
Earlier in the day, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that Aarogya Setu app is the best scientific instrument to alert people if some COVID-19 infected person is nearby and there should be no concern over privacy-related issues.
He was responding to AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi's statement in which he raised the possibility of privacy-related information being collected by the use of app.
Javadekar said the app is being preferred worldwide over other means of tracking and mapping the pandemic. It alerts people if some COVID-19 infected person is near them. This is the best scientific instrument. There is nothing of privacy-related matter and information to be collected," he told ANI.
"There is no information actually. If you have a cough, a cold or tested positive, then only you have to fill up the information. The app will continue for the next one or two years. The lockdown will be over soon, but this app will be a permanent help till we win the war against this pandemic," said Javadekar.
Aarogya Setu app was launched in public-private partnership enables people to themselves assess the risk for their catching the coronavirus infection. The app makes its calculations based on a person's interaction with others, using Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
Owaisi had tweeted: "The Central govt is fighting COVID-19 with taali, thaali, bijli & a very shady app. Now Delhi's Sultans have issued a farmaan that people have no choice in the matter. They MUST share their private data with govt (& whoever the govt wants?"
(With ANI inputs)