2 April 2020
Today the government released an app, Aarogya sethu, for ‘contact tracing’ COVID-19 victims. As an incredibly privacy conscious person I cannot bury the feeling I have deep inside that this app is simply going to be the first of many tracking and mining pathways that the government will set up under the cover of the ongoing crisis that it will liberally use, possibly with ill intentions, in the coming days long after this crisis has passed us.
The app requires permissions for bluetooth access (a popular method of indirect location tracking), full-time location tracking and the user’s phone number (also usable for location tracking besides individual profiling). The app claims all data is stored on your device and that only aggregate data is shared with the government. This is as yet unverified and in all likelihood will remain that way since the app has not been open sourced and public security auditing is out of the question.