Government releases data processing protocol for Aarogya Setu app


The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Monday released a protocol for the Aarogya Setu app, which said the Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management will review after six months.

“The Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020” outlines the ways in which the data collection through the government’s Covid-19 contact tracing app will take place.

MeitY secretary Ajay Sawhney is heading the empowered group on technology and data management during Covid. He told Business Standard on Sunday that the ministry was planning to bring out some guidelines to further define on what exactly can be done with the data.

The National Informatics Centre, under MeitY, will be responsible for collection, processing and managing response data collected by the Aarogya Setu.

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The protocol states that will specify the purpose for which it is collecting data in the privacy policy of the app, and will only collect data that is “necessary and proportionate to formulate or implement appropriate health responses”.

On data sharing, it says may share data with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Departments of Health of the State/Union Territory Governments/ local governments, National and State Disaster Management Authorities and other public health institutions of the government.

shall, to the extent reasonable, document the sharing of any data and maintain a list of the agencies with whom such data has been shared,” the protocol document said.

It also lists conditions for data to be shared by NIC for research purposes.

A petition was filed last Thursday in the Kerala High Court by General Secretary of the District Congress Committee, Thrissur, John Daniel, against mandating the download of Aarogya Setu, saying the order “takes away the right of a person to decide and control the use of information pertaining to him”.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs had on May 1 said through an order that the download of Aarogya Setu was mandatory for public and private employees, and also for people in what are identified as containment zones. The order also imposed penal action if the directives for download were not complied with.

In addition to asking for the mandatory download clause to be struck down, Daniels had also said the app does not specify which department, ministry or officials would be accessing the data required by Aarogya Setu.

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