Telephone took 75 years to reach 50 milion users, radio 38 yrs,television 13 yrs,Internet 4 yrs, Facebook 19 months, Pokemon Go 19 days. #AarogyaSetu,India’s app to fight COVID-19 has reached 50 mn users in just 13 days-fastest ever globally for an App— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) April 14, 2020
Salute the spirit of India! pic.twitter.com/xKqt3Tmj4f
Contact tracing is being adopted by many countries in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and India’s app is no different as it is capable of producing a social graph from the various data points it collects automatically. It also uses Bluetooth and GPS to ascertain real-time information that’s logged in the app and based on the graph, the app determines whether you have been near an infected person.
The changes in the policy also make it clear that the data stored on the government server of people not infected by the disease will be deleted after 45 days from the date of upload while the data of those infected will only be deleted after 60 days of being declared cured.
Outside of this, however, the app has recently received an update that adds a link to donate to PM CARES fund and is reportedly being prepared for another update that will add the functionality of getting an e-pass for lockdown. Therefore, Aarogya Setu can easily transcend its fundamental use case if the government wants to.
According to a recent report by PTI, Tata Consultancy Services and Mahindra group are both working on different aspects of the Aarogya Setu for the next version with data science and machine learning baked in. The app will soon be launched for feature phones as well because, for contact tracing to work, the social graph needs to feed on data points of more users. This is why the government has been pushing citizens and its employees alike for downloading the app, including all educational departments and institutions.