Aarogya Setu to be installed on “Best Efforts Basis”. No longer Mandatory

SFLC.in welcomes the Home Ministry Guidelines dated 17.05.2020 that no longer mandates the installation of Aarogya Setu application for government and private employees, and individuals in containment zones. Under the new guidelines, an employer will not be liable in case the employee fails to install Aarogya Setu in its device. This welcome move is the result of the efforts of civil society organisations, technologists, policy professionals and citizens who had relentlessly voiced their opinion against mandatory installation of Aarogya Setu app.

SFLC.in along with a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations had sent a joint representation letter to the Government of India and the state governments, expressing concerns over the unwarranted and excessive collection and processing of personal data during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The full text of the representation can be accessed here.

The Joint Representation also inspired a public initiative where SFLC.in asked the citizens to raise their voice and urge the Government of India to resort to strict legal  measures and adhere to the  privacy and data  protection principles for the  collection and processing of personal data during the ongoing pandemic. We received an overwhelming response to the initiative.

We had published a detailed analysis of the legal issues involved the application as well as a technical analysis of the application. We also issued a statement on the ‘Mandatory’ use of Aarogya Setu App.

SFLC.in had also sent a representation to the Chairperson of Committee on Information Technology raising our concerns around the privacy violations taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare a report on the same.

This is just the beginning, and we will continue to keep track of the issue as we need to ensure that the app is not made de facto mandatory for citizens by means of it being required for accessing various services and public places.

Amid security and privacy concerns, the Aarogya Setu app still remains a closed source application. The Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, and the Protocol fall short on various data protection principles which have been highlighted by us as well as other organisations and individuals.

We will continue our fight to defend digital rights of citizens and look forward to your support..