Why India’s contact-tracing app is still a work in progress, eight weeks after national rollout

App received widespread criticism from digital rights experts – but at least the government appears to have been listening, Adam Withnall reports

Friday 29 May 2020 17:07
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The Aarogya Setu app is seven or eight apps in one, providing services from proximity tracing to self-assessment tests
The Aarogya Setu app is seven or eight apps in one, providing services from proximity tracing to self-assessment tests

India was among the first countries in the world to order a national rollout of its contact-tracing app on 2 April, just a week after it went into lockdown, to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The initial launch was a quiet affair, but attention built around the app as it was increasingly highlighted during prime minister Narendra Modi’s addresses to the nation.

Almost two months and nearly 120 million downloads later, the app has become a key part of the Indian government’s plans for reopening the country, with employees expected to download it before returning to offices and passengers barred from flying without showing the app on their phone.

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