INTRO: Following protests from privacy advocates, criticisms from legal scholars and a strong recommendation from powerful tech industry body(MAIT), the government has taken a small backstep from its earlier order that made it necessary on all private-sector companies in the country to ensure that their employees install the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones.
Govt Eases the Guidelines Related to Aarogya Setu App for Private Firms
After receiving protests, criticisms from all the legal scholars especially from the powerful tech industry body Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), the govt has now revised its earlier guidelines related to the installation of Aarogya setu app in private firms. The revised directive now requires employers to ensure ‘on best effort basis’ that their staff complies with the order.
New Issued Guidelines Say:
In the new guidelines which were issued Sunday evening, says the Home Ministry: “With a view to ensure the safety in offices and workplaces, of the employers on best effort basis it should ensure that the application is installed by all employees having a compatible mobile phone to put in best efforts to ensure that the contact-tracing app is downloaded on their devices”.
The government was Forced to Come Up With New Guidelines
Abhishek Singh, who is CEO of MyGov and the National e-Governance Division (NeGD), admitted that the government was forced to come up with a new approach after people started revolting and arguing against the mandatory Aarogya Setu installation order following severe privacy concerns raised by some noted cyber-security experts. Reports also suggested that there are some people who are coming up with innovative solutions to circumvent the order.it is worth noticing that, the app had garnered a lot of installs even in the face of privacy shortcomings and insufficient safeguards.
“We want users to feel that they need to download it, and making Aarogya Setu mandatory to download was having the opposite effect. There were also some flaws that we were made aware of: in some cases, users kept screenshots of the results of the self-assessment saying they are safe and using it repeatedly; in other cases, many users deleted the app after downloading it” said Singh.
Now It’s all up to State Govt To make it Mandatory or not
Interestingly, the central government is now leaving it up to the states to whether to enforce the order, saying that “it is within the legal framework” for states to make it mandatory or not. On the other hand, the Aarogya Setu app is already mandatory for people who are traveling by trains and all the Indian nationals who arriving from foreign countries by flights as part of repatriation missions.