- Government-regulated Aarogya Setu Covid-19 touch tracing app has crossed 100 million downloads after 40 days of launch, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing devices.
Government-regulated Aarogya Setu Covid-19 touch tracing app has crossed 100 million downloads after 40 days of launch, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing devices.
Users got a message on the app on May 12 that there were 10 crore people added to the site. The app passed the 50 million download mark on April 15 to remember and reached 90 million on May 4. In April, it was also ranked 7th on the global list of most downloaded non-gaming devices.
Aarogya Setu is likely to see a spurt in downloads in the coming days as the central government has made it compulsory on repatriation flights for government and private-sector workers, train travelers, and those who fly to India.
In addition, the government is also mulling making it compliant with mobile phones so that a significant section of the population can be brought within its sphere of operation.
Opposition parties and other groups have also criticized the software for privacy concerns as well as the lack of any legal structure. Location-based monitoring specifically impacts the users’ privacy and safety according to them.
In the meantime, several reports have also flagged the bugs in the software, saying it could be hacked. A report in BuzzFeed News said the Aarogya Setu app has been hacked by an unknown programmer to make it appear secure at all times by modifying its code to circumvent such compulsory measures.
A software engineer managed to bypass a page that asked for personal information, such as name, age, gender, travel history, and symptoms, according to the report. He also managed to escape the mandatory Bluetooth and GPS access to the phone that the device needs. It means the app will flash a green badge without collecting any data, which will make it appear safe.
Last week, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said the app is secure and the Singaporean ethical hacker Frank Volkel has confirmed it. The government has also ensured that the Aarogya Setu app can not be compromised and that the data will only be kept on the server for 30 days and will be kept for 60 days in the case of a successful COVID-19 user before the user recovers.
A COVID tracker, launched recently by MIT Technology Review, has given Aarogya Setu only 2 out of 5 stars. The app gets stars for the policy which suggests that the collected data will be deleted after a certain period of time. The app does not score any points, however, for being free, transparent.