Indian Government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app ‘Aarogya Setu’ has crossed 100 million installs in just 41 days which also adds 5 million downloads in just 3 days of its launch.
Aarogya Setu which means healthcare bridge in Hindi is developed by the Government of India that allows people to self-assess whether they have caught the infectious disease by answering a set of questions. It then uses this information to alert users if they have come in contact with someone who might be infected.
A representative of the NITI Aayog told us that the 100 million installs represent unique users — and not just those who had just downloaded the app.
Aarogya Setu is also not open source, which means that independent researchers can’t inspect the code and find any defects in it.
Since its launch, the app has dodged several privacy concerns and a French ethical hacker has raised a major security breach in the app that even revealed the specific information of about 90 million users of the app.
Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary in the ministry of electronics and information technology, said in an interview to Business Standard that the government has not made the source code of Aarogya Setu public because it feared many will point to flaws in it and overburden the staff overseeing the app’s development.
“If I open up my source code, and say, some 50,000 people start criticizing it, raising issues every day, we will have to spend too much time reacting to those. We might do that for all in due course, but right now we are planning to open it up to some of the top cybersecurity experts in the country,” he said.
There are some other concerns, too. Singapore is relying on its contact-tracing app, called TraceTogether, for disease control but not using it to enforce lockdowns. Aarogya Setu, in contrast, retains the flexibility to do just that, or to ensure compliance of legal orders and so on, according to New Delhi-based digital rights advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation.
As of writing this India has reported 74,281 cases and 2,415 deaths to COVID-19.