Government could make Aarogya Setu registration mandatory on new phones
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, India is looking to double down on the use of technology for aggressive contact-tracing. The government of the country has already launched an app called Aarogya Setu to let people know about possible exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient. And, now, to push that effort, it is mulling making the app mandatory on new smartphones. Here's how.
Smartphone makers asked to pre-install Aarogya Setu
According to a report in Livemint, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently had a meeting with leading smartphone makers and expressed the intention to have Aarogya Setu on their devices. It asked the manufacturers to pre-install the app on every device they make so that Indians buying new phones automatically get the contact-tracing service needed to fight the outbreak of COVID-19.
Registration for phone setup could also be mandated
Along with having the app pre-installed, the government is also reportedly planning to push OEMs to make Aarogya Setu registration a part of the smartphone setup process. The news comes from News18 sources who are directly familiar with the government's plan to push the contact-tracing app further in the country; they also say it will appoint nodal agencies to see the project through.
No word from companies yet
The government meeting is said to have been attended by Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Foxconn, and Wistron, among other manufacturing bodies. However, at the time of writing, none of these companies or other tech giants involved in the manufacturing of smartphones have commented on the report or confirmed whether the app would be mandated on new phones or not.
Either way, mandating registration seems a little harsh
Even though the current health crisis demands aggressive contact-tracing, forcing Indians to register on Aarogya Setu to use their new phones seems like a harsh move. People should be given a choice to opt-in, given that the Internet Freedom Foundation report has already highlighted several privacy and security risks, including the possibility of spying, in the service.Share this timeline