Government-regulated Covid-19 contact tracing app Aarogya Setu has crossed 100 million downloads after 40 days of launch, making it one of the fastest-growing apps globally.
On May 12, users got a notification on the app that 10 crore people have been added to the platform. To recall, the app had crossed the 50 million download mark on April 15 and touched 90 million on May 4. It was also ranked 7th on the global chart of most downloaded apps in the non-gaming category in April.
In the coming days, Aarogya Setu is likely to see a spurt in downloads as the central government has made it mandatory for government and private sector employees, train travelers, and those flying into India in the repatriation flights.
Moreover, the government is also mulling making it compatible with feature phones so that a large section of the population can be brought under its ambit.
The app has also come under criticism from opposition parties and several organizations over privacy issues as well as the absence of any legal framework. According to them, location-based tracking directly impacts the privacy and cybersecurity of its users.
Meanwhile, some reports have also flagged the glitches in the app and claimed that it can be hacked. A report in BuzzFeed News said that an anonymous programmer has hacked the Aarogya Setu app to make him appear safe at all times by tweaking its code to bypass some mandatory steps.
According to the report, a software engineer managed to bypass a page that requested personal information like name, age, gender, travel history, and symptoms. He also managed to avoid the mandatory Bluetooth and GPS access to the phone required by the app. It means, without collecting any data, the app will be flashing a green badge making him appear safe.
Last week, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said that the app is secure and has been validated by the Singaporean ethical hacker Frank Volkel. The government had also assured that the Aarogya Setu app can’t be hacked and the data is stored in the server for 30 days only and in the case of a COVID-19 positive person, it is stored for 60 days until the person recovers.
Recently, a Covid tracing tracker launched by MIT Technology Review, has given only 2 out of 5 stars to Aarogya Setu. The app gets stars for the policy which suggests that data that is collected is deleted after a period of time. However, the app doesn’t score any ratings for being voluntary, transparency and for its usage being limited to public health.