Is Aarogya Setu a spy for Govt?

Is Aarogya Setu a spy for Govt?

Is Aarogya setu, the Apps used for contact tracing is actually a  sophisticated surveillance system of the Government with data being manipulated and used without the consent and knowledge of the user?

Many IT specialist thinks so and now it has taken a political shape as Congress MP Rahul Gandhi target it as a sophisticated surveillance system of the Government.

TheGovernment was quick to deny that  andUnion Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad quickly termed Mr Gandhi's allegation as alie saying that data is secure.

Defence experts are also wary that the App can be used by the Pakistani spy. The Indian Army has issued a warning to its personnel against Pakistani agencies' nefarious designs to hack the phones of Indian military personnel through a malicious application similar to the Aarogya Setu app.

"Inimicalintelligence agencies have developed a malicious app by the name AarogyaSetu.apk. Such apps were found to be sent by Pakistan-based PakistaniIntelligence Operatives to WhatsApp groups of Indian Army personnel," the Armyhas stated in its warning.

Theapp that was meant for voluntary use when it was launched in early April hasbeen made a must for all private and government employees. If a private firmemployee is found without the app on their phone, the head of the company willbe held responsible, the centre has said.

"TheArogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvtoperator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security &privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not beleveraged to track citizens without their consent," Rahul Gandhi tweetedon Saturday.

MrGandhi adds to what some experts have said about privacy concerns over the app.They say the app needs far more data than what is necessary and falls shorts ofthe standards set by contact-tracing apps of other countries.

Useof GPS-based location data is a major concern, they say. The government thinktank NITI Aayog has defended the use of the app and said the GPS data helps infinding new hotspots. It said the location data is not used by the app on an individualbasis, but on an aggregated basis.

Anyoneattending office anywhere should have the app on their mobile from May 4, theday the two-week extended lockdown kicks in, the government has said. Everyonein a COVID-19 containment zone will also have to download the app.

Thoseworking from home, however, need not use the app. The centre has set a targetof achieving 30 crore app downloads in the next few weeks.

UnionMinister Ravi Shankar Prasad, responding to Mr Gandhi's criticism, said the appis a "powerful companion which protects people".

"Dailya new lie. Aarogya Setu is a powerful companion which protects people. It has arobust data security architecture. Those who indulged in surveillance all theirlives, won't know how tech can be leveraged for good!" Mr Prasad tweeted.

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