With the Aarogya Setu app, India has shown the way, says the World Bank

NEW DELHI: India has stolen a march on other global tech giants by launching the app that significantly aids in contact tracking and slows the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic with multilateral experts and agencies, calling it a useful innovation to stop the disease. extension.

Days after the app's launch, global tech companies Apple and Google said on Saturday that they were creating software on smartphones that would aid in contact tracking and would inform users if they were in contact with people infected with Covid-19. .

“India leads the way in contact tracking for Covid-19: privacy first by design, secure, robust and scalable to billions of users. I'm glad to see Apple and Google team up to develop contact tracking on Aarogya Setu lines, ”said NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant on Twitter, labeling Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Citing the example of the app, a World Bank report released Sunday said that innovative solutions could go a long way in educating and tracking contagion among populations at large.

Digital technologies can also be used to monitor the spread of Covid-19. These largely voluntary initiatives have been successful in helping to combat the pandemic in East Asia. Incentives can also be provided to those who report symptoms. India recently launched an app, Aarogya Setu, which uses location data from people's smartphones to tell users if they've been around someone who tested positive for Covid-19, the World Bank's South Economic Focus report said.

“Privacy concerns can be addressed by legislating sunset clauses in tracking systems. The region is home to many poor and uneducated households who are nonetheless tech savvy, and innovative technology solutions could go a long way in educating and tracking contagion among the general population, the report said.

Kant said this was a world-class app intended to help curb the spread of the disease.

The app has been developed with a comprehensive Indian approach and has been made possible with a public-private partnership with the best experience, Kant told TOI.

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The government has been trying to popularize the app and has explained that adequate precautions have been taken regarding privacy. Legal experts also said that there are three features that have been incorporated into Aarogya Setu to preserve privacy.

First, personal information is de-identified in the registry, so thereafter the app only uses a unique device identity to identify you, not your name or any other personal information. Second, the information the app collects, those with whom it comes in contact, and your location information is kept on the phone by default. It is only sent to NIC servers when it has come in contact with an infected person or when its probability of being infected is high, Rahula Matthan, a partner at legal consulting firm Trilegal, told TOI.

Finally, data collected by the app, both data that remains on your device and data that has been uploaded to servers, is regularly deleted, Matthan said.