Rahul Gandhi, former Congress president and Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad, has termed the government’s coronavirus-tracking app, Aarogya Setu, is a “sophisticated surveillance system” and raised concerns over its security credentials on data and privacy-related issues.
On Saturday, Gandhi tweeted: “The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private operator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security & privacy concerns.”
The Arogya Setu app, is a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a pvt operator, with no institutional oversight - raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 2, 2020
Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, also expressed concerns over the app. Taking to Twitter, he said, “The central govt is fighting Covid-19 with taali (claps), thaali (plates), bijli (lights) and a very shady app (Aarogya Setu). Now the government has issued a diktat that people have no choice in the matter.”
The Central govt is fighting COVID-19 with taali, thaali, bijli & a very shady app. Now Delhi’s Sultans have issued a farmaan that people have no choice in the matter. They MUST share their private data with govt (& whoever the govt wants?). [1/2] https://t.co/F03MH8AXAm— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 1, 2020
Only 50 crore Indians have smartphones. Now, maybe from where I am from, “100%” means “everyone”. But I guess Wazeer e Dakhla (@AmitShah) has defined it differently— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 1, 2020
Later, Owaisi doubled down on his remark and said it had “touched a raw nerve”. He also said the app doesn’t have a sunset clause and unlike other countries, which have privacy laws, the government’s word can’t be legal guarantee.
My objections on #AarogyaSetu have touched a nerve. It can be misused for snooping & isn't on par with intl standards. 6-9PM stenographers received their script from KING & they've to perform. Fixing their ignorance isn't my job but defending our fundamental right to privacy is— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 2, 2020
It is a privacy issue if your app has no sunset clause. The underlying technology of the app can be used in future for surveillance. Apps in other countries may have to comply with stringent Privacy Laws, what privacy law does India have? Your word isn’t a legal guarantee @ANI https://t.co/G7DcPoop52— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) May 2, 2020
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted calling the former Congress president’s remark as a lie. Calling the Aarogya Setu app a “powerful companion which protects the people”, he clarified that the app is not outsourced to any private party.
Daily a new lie.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) May 2, 2020
Aarogya Setu is a powerful companion which protects people. It has a robust data security architecture.
Those who indulged in surveillance all their lives, won’t know how tech can be leveraged for good! https://t.co/t8ThXmddcS
Aarogya Setu is now being appreciated globally. The App is NOT outsourced to any private operator.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) May 2, 2020
Mr. Gandhi really high time that you stop outsourcing your tweets to your cronies who do not understand India.