Govt releases backend code of Aarogya Setu to enhance transparency

 thehindu.com  11/22/2020 06:08:10 

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The government on Friday released the backend code of Aarogya Setu in the open domain that will help people understand the functioning of the COVID-19 contact-tracing app and allay apprehensions they may have around privacy and security.

The source code of the Android and iOS versions of the Aarogya Setu app was released earlier and the backend source code has been released as per the government policy to share all code repositories with the developer community, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said in a statement.

Releasing backend code will help people in understanding the complete functioning of the app. This will clear any doubt that they have regarding privacy and security of their data, a MeitY official explained.

MeitY has released the backend code of Aarogya Setu on the OpenForge platform set up by the government to promote sharing and reuse of e-governance application source codes.

Also read | Govt gets notice after saying it has no information on Aarogya Setu creator

By opening the source code, the Government wants to encourage collaborative development between government departments and agencies and private organizations, citizens and developers to spur the creation of innovative e-governance applications and services.

With regard to Aarogya Setu App, it has been the endeavour of the government to share all information relating to it, the statement said.

Aarogya Setu was launched by the Government of India on April 2 with active involvement of the best of the minds from the Indian industry, academia and government working round the clock to build a robust, scalable and secure app, it said.

The app is now being maintained and supported by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Aarogya Setu app has been developed in the most transparent manner and all details and documents including privacy policy and Aarogya Setu data access and knowledge sharing protocols have been uploaded on the Aarogya Setu Portal.

The portal has all details about the App including those regarding how the App works, COVID-19 updates and why one should use Aarogya Setu. The App has been downloaded by more than 16.43 crore users and has greatly augmented the efforts of front line health workers in the fight against COVID-19, the statement added.

Also read | Aarogya Setu: Govt. cracks down on officials over evasive RTI reply

The app aims to help people identify bluetooth contacts of COVID-19 positive users and issues alerts for helping people stay safe.

These bluetooth contacts have been advised for caution, quarantine or testing depending on the extent of exposure to COVID-19 positive users.

Amongst those who have been advised testing, almost 27 per cent have tested positive. This is much higher compared to the overall positivity rate of 7-8 per cent. Thus, the efficiency of testing has gone up with Aarogya Setu, the statement said.

The Aarogya Setu ITIHAS interface with location data has helped identify emerging hotspots where proactive steps have been taken by health authorities and administration in order to contain the spread of the virus, it added.

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