May 08, 2020

Aarogya Setu App: What is Aarogya Setu App? How to Download and Use it?

Aarogya Setu is a mobile application developed by the Government of India on April 2, to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The Aarogya Setu App (earlier called Corona Kavach) is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices, and relevant advisories about the containment of COVID-19. This app alerts the users if they have come in contact with a Corona positive patient, and what measures they need to take in case that happens.

Who made Aarogya Setu App?

Aarogya Setu (literally, a bridge for freeness from disease) is an Indian COVID-19 tracking mobile application developed by the National Informatics Centre and that comes under the Government Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

How does the Aarogya Setu App work?

The Aarogya Setu App uses the smartphone's GPS and Bluetooth features to track the coronavirus infection. With the help of Bluetooth, this App tries to determine the risk if one has been near to around 6 feet of a COVID-19 infected person, by scanning through a database of known cases across India. Using the location information, it determines whether the location one is in belongs to one of the infected areas based on the data available or not.

It will keep a record of all other Aarogya Setu users that it detected nearby using Bluetooth. It will also use a GPS log of all the places that the device had been at 15-minute intervals. These records are stored on the phone till the time any user tests positive or declares symptoms of COVID-19 in a self-assessment survey in the app. In such cases, the records are uploaded to the servers.

How to Use Aarogya Setu App?

  1. When you open the app it asks for permission to access the Bluetooth, location of the mobile phone, and will ask set your preferred language.
  2. Next you need to set up your preferred language to use App. Chose from available 12 languages i.e. English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, and Assamese.
  3. The app works only when registered with a mobile number. So enter your mobile number, you'll get an OTP, enter it, and get verified.
  4. Choose your gender from the given options.
  5. Enter your full name, then age, and then profession, as asked.
  6. An optional form will also be shown next which asks for personal details such as name, age, occupation, and foreign travel history in the last 30 days.

There is an option for the "Self-Assessment Test" feature on the Arogya Setu App. Once you answer the questions related to your health and symptoms, the app shows the risk level in green and yellow color codes. If it's a green color code and the text says "You are safe" and there is possibly no risk. If it shows a yellow color code with the text "You are at high risk" - then you should contact the helpline on priority. The app also suggests action items for stopping the spread of the Corona, such as social distancing, hygiene, and staying at home precautions.

How to download Aarogya Setu App?

The app is available to download on Android from Google Play Store and iOS on the App Store. You may also download the App from the government's official website MyGov.

Technical details Aarogya Setu App

Aarogya Setu has four sections:
  1. Status - that tells the risk of getting Corona for the user.
  2. Self Assess - that lets the user know the risk of being infected.
  3. COVID-19 Update - which provides updates on local and national Coronavirus cases.
  4. E-pass
Aarogya Setu App is built on a platform that can provide an Application Programming Interface (API) so that other computer programs, mobile applications, and web services can make use of the features and data available in Aarogya Setu.

How much Safe is Aarogya Setu App?

The Aarogya Setu application has been into many controversies since the government announced that downloading the app would be mandatory for both government and private employees. Experts and ethical hackers have raised many concerns about the Aarogya Setu App. Critics say that Arogya Setu and applications like Sahyog that link to it could infringe the privacy as there was no clarity on how data would be shared between the two applications.

No legislation spells out how the online privacy of Indians is to be protected. Therefore Aarogya Setu users have little choice but to accept the privacy policy provided by the government. The policy goes into some detail on where and how long the data will be retained - but it leaves the language around who will have the access to it vague. As per the policy, “persons carrying out medical and administrative interventions necessary in relation to COVID-19” will have access to the data.

So this is everything you need to know about Aarogya Setu App. You may download and use the app at your discretion, having said that your privacy is not being compromised.