Written by Jaivir Dhingra, a grade 5 student
Did you know that Aarogya Setu is the fastest growing app? It was downloaded by 50 million people within just 13 days of its launch. The app has now crossed 100 million downloads.
Aarogya Setu is a health-related app, developed by National Informatics Centre. It was launched on 2nd April 2020. Aarogya Setu is a Sanskrit word meaning‘bridge to health’.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested the people of India to download this app. It informs the user about the risk of getting infected by the deadly virus named CoVID -19. The app has some key features:
- Automatic contact tracking using Bluetooth
- Self-assessment test
- Updates, advisory and best practices related to CoVID-19 pandemic
- Integration of e-pass
The app will soon launch telemedicine and video consultation facilities. It is available in 12 Indian languages.
How does contact tracing work through this app?
Aarogya Setu app on the user’s phone detects other devices that have Aarogya Setu app installed on them. When these other devices come in Bluetooth proximity of the user’s phone, both the phones securely exchange a digital signature of the interaction which includes time, proximity, location, and duration. If in the last 14 days the user has come in contact with someone who is tested positive for CoVID-19, the app calculates the user’s risk of infection. Thereafter the government advises appropriate medical action. Based on the user’s risk of infection, a notification appears on the home screen. There are 4 colours that classify the increasing risk of infection: Green signifies low risk of infection; Yellow signifies moderate risk of infection; Orange signifies a high risk of infection and Red signifies that the user has tested positive for CoVID -19.
Concerns over use of Aarogya Setu app:
To counter this problem the government has laid down guidelines for data-sharing and knowledge-sharing through this app with the government and third parties. The government has also made the app open-source, which means that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance its source code.
Singapore has launched a similar application named- TraceTogether. It is used strictly for disease control and the data is not shared with law enforcement agencies for enforcing lockdowns and quarantines.
In the end, I can say that, although Aarogya Setu is a very useful app, the government should focus on more transparency and protection of user’s data.