Civilian representatives write to PMO about Aarogya Setu's privacy problem

NEW DELHI: More than 100 representatives of civil society and at least 45 organizations, including unions, have sent a written request to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the mandatory use of the mobile application, for employees in various government and private sectors, expressing serious concern about the violation of individual privacy and the use of the application beyond the current needs of health emergency for the surveillance of people .

The petition on Representation to protect the privacy, autonomy and dignity of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, dated May 1, said: We, the undersigned ... write this representation in their offices to express a serious concern about violation of worker privacy through mandatory use of Aarogya Setu mobile application. We recognize the severity of the Covid-19 crisis that has gripped the country and maintain that it is especially during such public health emergencies that we must ensure the privacy and dignity of essential front-line workers. ”

While the government initially said that using the Aarogya Setu app, released for health surveillance, would be purely voluntary, downloading the app soon became mandatory for central armed police forces and employees of, they said. the petitioners, while noting that the news reports also said that army personnel were instructed not to use the Aarogya Setu app in sensitive offices, operational areas and locations due to data security concerns, which in itself indicates that technology puts privacy at risk.

Currently, the Aarogya Setu application is operating in a legal vacuum and its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service do not comply with the data protection principles of purpose limitation, data minimization, storage limitation, precision, integrity and confidentiality. , and transparency and fairness in processing, the petition says, arguing in detail how the application is against the data protection principles endorsed by the Supreme Court in the landmark ruling in KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017 10 SCC 1 ).

The petitioners have urged the PMO to take action in collaboration with the private sector and take into account the privacy concerns associated with Aarogya Setu and issue a notice clarifying that the use of the app should not be mandatory for workers in the economy. of the concert and also traditional economy

Signatories include organizations such as Amnesty India, Asia Dalit Rights Forum, All India Central Central of Trade Unions, PUDR,, MKSS, India n Federation of AppTransport Workers, to name a few and advocates, retired bureaucrats, journalists, etc. that represent civil society.