38.6c New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Executive

Compulsory use of Aarogya Setu App May Lead to Legal Complications: Tech Experts to Government

By Ishita Joshi      05 May, 2020 10:13 AM      0 Comments
Compulsory use of Aarogya Setu App May Lead to Legal Complications

Aarogya Setu - a mobile application launched on both Android and iOS platforms is a COVID-19 tracking system which keeps on the cases at the individual level and is thereby considered as a useful means for eliminating the virus. Developed by the National Informatics Centre which comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the app was launched during the first phase of lockdown (from 25th March 2020 to 14th April 2020) and has been used by the Government ever since to gather relevant data.

The mobile application (available on Google Play Store on Android smartphones and App Store for iPhones), helps individuals track the coronavirus infection by using the smartphone’s GPS and Bluetooth and provides information that will help in determining if at all one has been near a COVID-19 infected person.

It uses the device’s location to understand whether the user comes under the infected areas and also accesses the Bluetooth to determine if he or she has been within six feet from the infected person. 

In a directive issued on Friday, 1st May 2020 as part of the third phase of lockdown, the Ministry Of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that the “use of Aarogya app shall be made mandatory for all employees, both public and private” and that “head of the respective organizations to ensure 100% coverage of this app among the employees”.

The move, however, has posed several questions on data privacy. According to Tech experts, the Government’s decision to make the app compulsory may lead to a series of legal issues. It can cause anticipation or actual misuse of the data which is currently being collected (to stop the spread of the virus) for various other unsolicited reasons.

According to Pavan Duggal, one of the top cyber law experts in the country, there is no law passed by the Parliament authorizing the creation and mandate of this app. This could mean a contravention to the Information Technology Act, 2000. And while it can be used as an emergency measure for tracing Covid-19 patients, it could give rise to various legal challenges for the government. 

Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for legal recognition for transactions carried out using electronic data exchange and other means of electronic communication. In the case of KS Puttaswamy vs. Union of India, popularly known as Aadhar card case, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India passed a historic judgment affirming the constitutional right to privacy. It declared privacy to be an integral component of Part III of the Constitution of India which lays down our fundamental rights, ranging from rights relating to equality (Articles 14 to 18); freedom of speech and expression (Article 19(1)(a)); freedom of movement (Article 19(1)(d)) and personal liberty (Article 21) and others. 

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi also commented on the issue of privacy associated with the mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu app. He quipped that with no institutional checks in place, the move is bound to raise data and privacy concerns for the citizens. “The Aarogya Setu app is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private 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”, tweeted Rahul on Saturday, 2nd May 2020. 

More than 100 individuals and around 45 organizations on Saturday wrote to PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad protesting against the compulsory usage of Aarogya Setu app for workers in both Public and Private Workplaces. 

As of today, Government representatives have largely denied these issues and termed the concerns as baseless, while further clarifying that the App and its use will only in place until the pandemic ends.



Share this article:



Leave a feedback about this
TRENDING NEWS

kejriwal-moves-sc-against-delhi-hc-order-blocking-his-release-in-liquor-policy-case-plea-seeking-urgent-hearing-likely-to-be-mentioned-today
Trending Judiciary
Kejriwal moves SC against Delhi HC order blocking his release in Liquor Policy case; plea seeking urgent hearing likely to be mentioned today

Kejriwal moves SC against Delhi HC order halting his bail in liquor policy case; urgent hearing plea likely to be mentioned today.

24 June, 2024 10:47 AM
uapa-tribunal-confirms-ban-upon-two-jk-outfits
Trending Executive
UAPA Tribunal confirms ban upon two J&K outfits

UAPA Tribunal confirms ban on ‘Muslim League J&K’ and ‘Tehreek-e-Hurriyat J&K’ for secessionist activities under Section 3(1) of the anti-terror law.

24 June, 2024 11:10 AM

TOP STORIES

mk-stalin-urges-amit-shah-to-withdraw-new-criminal-laws
Trending Executive
MK Stalin Urges Amit Shah to Withdraw New Criminal Laws

Tamil Nadu CM Stalin urges Home Minister Amit Shah to withdraw new criminal laws, citing lack of consultation and fundamental errors in the enactments.

19 June, 2024 11:16 AM
calcutta-hc-mandates-reservation-for-transgenders-in-west-bengal-public-employment
Trending Judiciary
Calcutta HC mandates 1% reservation for transgenders in West Bengal Public Employment [Read Order]

Calcutta HC directs 1% reservation for transgenders in West Bengal public employment, ensuring equal opportunities and implementing Supreme Court’s 2014 mandate.

19 June, 2024 11:33 AM
supreme-court-to-organise-special-lok-adalat-from-july-to-aug-to-mark-its-th-anniversary
Trending Judiciary
Supreme Court to organise Special Lok Adalat from July 29 to Aug 03, to mark its 75th anniversary [Read Press Release]

Supreme Court to organize Special Lok Adalat from July 29 to August 03 to facilitate amicable settlements of pending cases, marking its 75th anniversary.

19 June, 2024 11:50 AM
post-office-act-comes-into-force-repeals-year-old-legislation
Trending News Updates
Post Office Act 2023 comes into force, repeals 125 year old legislation [Read New Post Office Act]

India enacts the Post Office Act 2023, replacing the 125-year-old Indian Post Office Act of 1898, to modernize and regulate postal services.

19 June, 2024 12:29 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email