Data on Aarogya Setu

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    In News

    • The Minister of State for Electronics and IT recently informed the Parliament that contact tracing data of citizens that were collected through the Aarogya Setu app has been deleted.
      • The app was launched as a contact tracing platform by the Centre during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

    What Data Was Collected?

    • It served as a contact tracing app, collecting personal details like a person’s name, phone number and gender, along with having access to their live location and Bluetooth.
    • Who could access the data: Approved officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, State Health Departments, the National and State Disaster Management Authorities and District Civil Surgeons were given secure access to the data collected through Aarogya Setu.

    Concerns with Aarogya Setu

    • Mandatory Nature: The app was initially mandatory for rail and air travel, and the concerns raised that people may not own a smartphone, which was necessary to use the app. 
    • Privacy Concerns: The government claimed the data was encrypted and anonymised, it was unclear what anonymisation protocols were being used. 
      • The app also offered a static anonymisation ID, which privacy experts claimed was a weaker model compared to dynamic anonymisation IDs.

    Karnataka High Court on Privacy Concerns of the App

    • A petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court in 2020 against the mandatory nature of the app and its data collection practices. 
    • The court refused to stay the use of the app, but held that the Centre cannot deny any services to a citizen on the ground that the user does not have Aarogya Setu and the data collected via the application cannot be shared with other parties beyond what is specified in the privacy policy presented to users.

    Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers

    • The National Health Authority announced the integration of its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission with the Aarogya Setu app, allowing users to create 14-digit unique Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers from the app.
    • The app will also have additional functionalities like sharing health status through a QR code, Open API, health advisories, and testing lab details.

    Aarogya Setu

    • Arogya Setu app has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) in a public-private partnership model to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19.

    IE