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Aarogya Setu Data Fully Anonymised, No Third Party Access Allowed: MyGov India


Last Updated: May 04, 2020, 17:30 IST

File photo of Aarogya Setu App.

File photo of Aarogya Setu App.

MyGov has assured that most of the generated data that may contain private identifiers is encrypted locally and fully anonymised to protect identity.

Aarogya Setu is following requisite data collection norms by making collected user data anonymous and limiting the parties that have access to it, said a MyGov India spokesperson on Twitter. Earlier today, the government of India's digital initiatives arm posted a series of tweets as discourse around the security credentials of the Aarogya Setu contact tracing app threatened to boil over. While many have deemed the Aarogya Setu app to be essential for tracking the community spread of Covid-19 in India, many have also deemed it detrimental towards user privacy.

The series of tweets by MyGov India on Twitter state:

The app requires you to enter your mobile number and certain personal information at the time of registration. All this information submitted is securely encrypted and stored on the server. On registration, the app assigns you a unique, anonymised, randomly generated device ID. The linking of device ID to mobile number is one time, and is securely encrypted and stored in a server. All future interactions from device to server is done through device ID only.

No personal information is exchanged post the registration. Thus, all processing of contact tracing and risk assessment is done in an anonymised manner. When you come in proximity of other people with this app installed, it stores encrypted information of this interaction in a secure manner on your mobile only. Information of your social interactions is NOT sent to the server in most cases, except when you have come in contact with someone who has later been diagnosed high risk or your self-assessment categorises you at risk.

The government of India will use your information ONLY for administering necessary medical interventions. Your data is NOT going to be used for any other purpose. No third party has access to data.

Earlier this month, the government of India made it mandatory for practically everyone to download the Aarogya Setu app on their phones. The move came as a new order from the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the gradual reopening of offices, shops and other facilities in a staggered manner. While private offices have been asked to operate only at 33 percent of peak capacity, downloading the Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory for everyone attending office in the organisation.

Government sources also told News18 that the app will also be made a mandatory install on all new smartphones that will be sold in India, going forward. Users will also not be able to setup their devices until they sign up for the Aarogya Setu app on all new devices. Given the implication of this order, many bodies have also spoken up against the order. The Internet Freedom Foundation of India (IFF), along with 44 other organisations and 104 individuals, have filed a joint representation to the PMO, urging the government to revise their order.

Given the present situation, it remains to be seen if MyGov India's new statement goes any length in addressing the questions around privacy that have come up, with regards to the Aarogya Setu app.