India’s technology ministry has rolled out a version of the Aarogya Setu app for JioPhones, potentially acquring five million active users on the app.
The Aarogya Setu app relies on Bluetooth and GPS to alert users of infected people they may have come in contact.
While the contact tracing app garnered over 100 million downloads, issues regarding user privacy are causing outrage on social media.
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With the Aarogya Setu app reportedly being made mandatory for rail and air travel and also in private offices, India’s technology ministry has rolled out a version of the Bluetooth-based contact-tracing app for JioPhones, potentially acquiring five million active users on the app.
The development was first reported by Reuters last week, and the app is already rolling out to JioPhone users. India is presently undergoing the world’s largest lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. To help with contact-tracing, the government had launched an official app called Aarogya-Setu, which apart from tracking users via Bluetooth, also lets them take a self-assessment test and book a test to see if they are infected by the highly infectious virus.
The Aarogya Setu app relies on Bluetooth and GPS to alert users of infected people they may have come in contact. The app has been downloaded over 100 million times and was initially available on Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
With cheap JioPhones in the fold, the number of downloads of the app should see a big hike. Furthermore, it will allow a lot of low-income households to take the self-assessment test and know how safe their area is.
While the contact tracing app garnered over 100 million downloads, issues regarding user privacy are causing outrage on social media. Most recently, Buzzfeed reported that the app was taken apart in a matter of four hours by a Bengaluru-based software engineer, and managed to bypass the essential steps in the app to allow the government to know your location and status. By the end of it, he was able to stop all invasive permissions to Bluetooth and GPS, so that the app couldn’t collect any data but still flashed a green badge showing the user was at low risk of infection.
Previously, popular France-based ethical hacker Robert Baptiste, who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter posted about some security lapses in the Aarogya Setu app which could potentially allow a malicious user to triangulate someone’s location from the app.
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