NEW DELHI: Researchers at MIT Technology Review have given 2 out of 5 points to Aarogya Setu app on its COVID-19 app tracker index, saying it scores positively on the timely deletion of user data and collection of only useful data.
The Aarogya Setu app which has nearly 100 million users were compared with COVID-19 apps of 25 other countries.
The findings of contact-tracing apps were based on their enforcement, handling of information, privacy and transparency dynamics across the world.
The tracker documented 25 such tools after analysing "what they're, how they work, and what policies and processes are put in place around them".
Aarogya Setu scored positively on the timely deletion of user data and collection of only useful data but "failed to score on voluntary use, limitations of information usage, and transparency", said MIT Technology Review.
MIT Technology Review's database shows that India's app is one of a kind in a number of other ways, too.
"Many countries are developing limited services that use Bluetooth or GPS to offer 'exposure notifications' to people that have interacted with someone found to have been affected by COVID-19. India's app, though, maybe a massive all-in-one undertaking that far exceeds what most other countries are building," said the report.
Aarogya Setu also offers access to telemedicine, an e-pharmacy, and diagnostic services. It's whitelisted by all Indian telecom companies, so using it doesn't count against mobile data limits.
On May 6, reacting to an ethical hacker's claim that a security issue has been found within the app, the Aarogya Setu team said the app is totally safe.
The Aarogya Setu team said the app fetches a user's location by design and store the location data on the server in a secure, encrypted and anonymised manner, "when users submit their contact tracing data voluntary through the app of when we fetch tracing data of a user after they have turned COVID-19 positive."
"All this information is already public for all locations and, hence, doesn't compromise on any personal or sensitive data," said the app team.
On Saturday, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that Aarogya Setu has alerted the govt. about over 650 hotspots across the country which could have been missed otherwise.
Aarogya Setu is a COVID-19 tracking mobile application developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) that comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).