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Coronavirus in India: This app warns if you come in contact with COVID-19 positive person

Since its launch, over one crore people have download Aarogya Setu. The app has largely received positive reviews on the Play Store. In fact, it has become No.1 free app in the Indian mobile application market

Coronavirus in India: This app warns if you come in contact with COVID-19 positive person

Aarogya Setu uses the Bluetooth and location-generated social graph to track if the user has come across any COVID-19 confirmed person or those suspected of coronavirus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday talked extensively about the recently-launched coronavirus tracker app Aarogya Setu during a meet with party workers via video conference to mark BJP's 40th foundation day. He asked BJP workers to encourage more people to use the app.

What is Aarogya Setu app?

The central government of India launched Aarogya Setu on April 3 to track the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The app, launched in public-private partnership, helps people assess the risk of catching the virus. App users can also alert authorities if they come in close contact with a person infected with the virus.

Also read: Coronavirus India Live Updates: Delhi govt to do random testing in Delhi-NCR; country's active cases at 3,981

Since its launch, over one crore people have download Aarogya Setu. The app has largely received positive reviews on the Play Store. In fact, it has become No.1 free app in the Indian mobile application market.  

However, some users have reported problems while using the app. An Android user said, "When I try to open the app, I just get the pop-up that my device is rooted". Privacy advocates have raised concern about possible misuse of data. Journalist and digital privacy expert Nikhil Pahwa stated, "The privacy challenge we are facing is balancing the health of many, these are unprecedented times, unprecedented measures are being taken, however, it's important that the app be open-sourced, so that it can be tested for privacy".

However, the government has said that personal data collected by the app was encrypted using state-of-the-art-technology and stays secure in the user's mobile phone. K. Vijayaraghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the government said, "All communication from the app, whether to another device or server, are secure and anonymised, and cannot be brute-forced, the app has been thoroughly and rigorously tested for security vulnerabilities by leading academic and industry experts".

How to use the app?

Aarogya Setu uses the Bluetooth and location-generated social graph to track if the user has come across any COVID-19 confirmed person or those suspected of coronavirus. Here's how you can download the app:

Step 1: Go to Play Store and search Aarogya Setu

Step 2: Click on Install

Step 3: Once the app gets installed, select the language

Step 4: Switch on Bluetooth and location

Step 5: Set "location sharing" to always. Location data is sent to the government.

How does the app work?

The user carries out self-assessment test through chatbox on the app. The bot asks gender, age, foreign-travel history, and symptoms.

This data is used to identify risk and alert other users if they come across anyone suspected of coronavirus.

The app is available in 11 languages-English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia.

Aarogya Setu is based on Singapore's successful community tracing app "TraceTogether". Other countries are also developing similar kinds of apps to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Also read: Coronavirus: Japan PM Abe set to announce emergency, finalise $1 trillion stimulus package

Also read: Coronavirus impact: India withdraws export ban on 12 essential medicines

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