Implementing the Centre’s guidelines to make the use of Aarogya Setu application mandatory for people, UP's Gautam Buddh Nagar Commissioner of Police said that if smartphone users do not have Aarogya Setu App installed on their phones, while out in a public place, it will be considered as a punishable offence.
In an order dated May 3, Police Commissioner (Law and Order), Ashutosh Dwivedi stated that if people do not install the Government’s app on their phone, then it would be a punishable offence for the violation of lockdown norms.
The Ministry of Home Affairs amended its guidelines for the extended lockdown in India till May 17. In the notification issued by the MHA on May 1, the Centre made the use of its contact tracing app Aarogya Setu mandatory in containment zones and for all public and private entity employees. While the Centre has hailed the app as adhering to global standards, several Opposition leaders and privacy experts have raised issues with it.
The notification read, "The local authority shall ensure 100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of containment zones. Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory for all employees, both private and public. It shall be the responsibility of the Head of the respective Organisations to ensure 100% coverage of this app among the employees".
The Centre's Aarogya Setu App is currently being used for contact-tracing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The application uses Bluetooth and GPS data of the user to collect surveillance for contact tracing in Containment Zones. While it was not mandated before, the Centre has now made its download compulsory, raising security concerns and legality issues.
Experts state that the app's usage of GPS-based location data is gaining more data than what is necessary. Moreover, experts state that the location data is not used by the app on an individual basis, but on an aggregated basis. Data analysts have also questioned why the Centre has not made the source code of the app available for examination by the larger technology community.