New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed the government for making the Aarogya Setu app mandatory for private and government employees, calling the app a ‘sophisticated surveillance system,’ which, he said, raised ‘serious data security and privacy concerns.’ Also Read - ‘Download Aarogya Setu App, Come to Work After Checking Health Status,’ Govt Asks Employees
He tweeted: “The Arogya Setu app is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private operator, with no institutional oversight-raising serious data security and privacy concerns.” Also Read - Life After Lockdown: Wear a Mask, Get Temperature Checked, Show Aarogya Setu App, Take Metro
“Technology can help keep us safe, but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent,” the former Congress president added. Also Read - Aarogya Setu Becomes World's Fastest App to Reach 5 Crore Downloads, Says Niti Aayog
The Aarogya Setu app notably, was launched on April 2. It enables people to assess, on their own, their risk of catching the coronavirus. The app makes its calculations on the basis of a person’s interactions with others, using Bluetooth, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
However, some experts have raised privacy concerns over the app, saying that it needs far more data than what is necessary and falls shorts of the standards set by contact-tracing apps of other countries. Use of GPS-based location data, as per the experts, ‘is a major concern.’
It was in this context that the Congress leader sent out the said tweet today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has, however, repeatedly hailed Arogya Setu, urging everyone to download it. Also, according to the NITI Aayog, it is the fastest app in the world to have recorded five crore downloads.