Govt highlights advantage of Aarogya Setu, but stops short of making it compulsory in new guidelines

NEW DELHI: The government appears to have made Aarogya Setu optional, scaling down its earlier directive that had made it compulsory for several categories of people to download the mobile app which monitors the spread of Covid-19. In fresh guidelines issued Sunday on lockdown 4.0, the government has focused on the advantage of the app saying it enables for early identification of potential risk of infection and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.

"With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones," it said.

In its May 1 guidelines, the government had said "use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory for all employees, both private and public. It shall be the responsibility of the head of the respective organisation to ensure 100 per cent coverage of the app among the employees".

Sunday's guidelines also said district authorities "may advise" individuals to install the app on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status as this will facilitate timely provisions of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk.

The last guidelines had said that the local authority "shall ensure 100 per cent coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of containment zones", a point no more mentioned in the latest one.

Early this month, a French hacker and cyber security expert who goes by the name Elliot Alderson had claimed that "a security issue has been found" in the app and that "privacy of 90 million Indians is at stake".

The government had categorically rejected this claim saying no data or security breach has been identified in the app and "no personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk by this ethical hacker".

"We are continuously testing and upgrading our systems. Team Aarogya Setu assures everyone that no data or security breach has been identified," the government had said through the app's Twitter handle.