13:46 GMT26 November 2020
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    The Aarogya Setu app was promoted as a safety net against COVID-19, designed by the government for the public. However, with the government failing to divulge details about its creator amid the opposition's unwavering suggestion that it is indeed a surveillance trap, the app has been completely shrouded in controversy.

    The Chief Information Commission (CIC) of India issued a show-cause notice on Wednesday to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) – a body that provides IT solutions for the Indian government asking them to provide legitimate answers about the creation of Aarogya Setu. 

    The contact-tracing, self-assessment mobile app Aarogya Setu was launched by the Modi government days after the coronavirus forced Indians into a lockdown in March this year. The app has more than a hundred million downloads on Google Playstore alone, and more on Apple Store.

    NIC has revealed that it has no information about the creator of the Aarogya Setu app. The show-cause notice issued by the CIC cannot be avoided, Hindustan Times reported. 

    The action by CIC comes after an Indian citizen Saurav Das filed a complaint with the RTI body. Das, who is a journalist by profession, claims to have also approached the NIC, National E-Governance Division (NeGD) and the ministry of electronics and information technology seeking to know about the creator of the application previously.

    ​Rahul Gandhi, a key political leader for India’s main opposition Congress party had previously called Aarogya Setu a surveillance tool collecting data of Indian citizens for the Modi government.

    ​Keeping in line with Gandhi’s statement from May, several Indian citizens are raising questions on the legitimacy of Aarogya Setu – the app that has been mandated by the Ministry of Home Affairs before entering restaurants, cinema halls and metro stations.

    Upon installation, the app is capable of identifying whether the user has come into contact with a COVID-19 patient or someone suspected of having it. 

    In order to predict the status of the user’s safety, the app requires the user to allow it to access the phone’s number, location, and Bluetooth connectivity feature.

    Tags:
    Sputnik, Sputnik, Sputnik, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, App, information, life under COVID-19 quarantine, coronavirus, COVID-19, Indians, India
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