Government Quells Surveillance Concerns, Makes Arogya Setu App Open Source For Developers
The Government of India today turned the Android version of COVID-19 tracking app into an open-source enabling any researchers, cybersecurity experts, or developers to inspect and therefore audit the app to suit their requirements
Ever since the launch of the Aarogya Setu app in April 2020, it has come under scrutiny for its handling of user data, many accusing the contract tracking app of putting the user data as a risk. Addressing this issue, the Government of India has turned the Android version of the COVID tracking app into an open-source enabling any researchers, cybersecurity experts, or developers to inspect and therefore audit the app to suit their requirements.
The source code for the Android version of the app has been made available by the Government on GitHub. The government also announced that the iOS version of the application will be released as open-source within the next two weeks along with its source code.
The government also went on to explain their stance behind making the app an open-source. It said that by opening the app to the public domain, the govt is looking towards expanding collaboration and leverage the expertise of some top technical experts in the country to build a robust technology solution to support the frontline workers who are risking their own lives in fighting the global pandemic.
The process of supporting the open-source development will be managed by the National Informatics Centre and the government of India also requested the developers to help find any vulnerabilities or code improvement in order to make the app more secure for users.
"Transparency, privacy, and security have been the core design principle of Aarogya Setu. Opening the source code to the developer community signifies the Government of India's continuing principal to these commitments. No other government anywhere in the world has been open source at this scale," NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
The app was launched on April 2 and has around 11.5 crore users at present.