India is keen to push its coronavirus tracker through any means possible – including smartphones. Now, through an Interactive Voice Response System, or IVRS, India has made its coronavirus tracker available through most people’s smartphones.
If you have a smartphone, you can call 1921, and you will receive a call back from ministry health officials who can ask about your current health conditions. The questions that they will ask will be the same as the ones that are present on the app, available on most smartphones.
Once officials receive the answers to the health questions and have a look at them, the smartphone user will get a text message to tell them what their present health status is. They will also receive vital notifications around COVID-19, including updates from the government.
NITI Aayog program director Arnab Kumar says that their organization is almost ready to release an app for the server KaiOS, which is used by more than 100 million people nationwide. Aarogya Setu, the health questions app, was officially released last month for both iOS and Android, and since its release, it has amassed over 90 million users. The government just recently made it mandatory for all public and private sector employees to have it.
In the northern districts in India, police have made it a crime for smartphone users not to have the app. However, privacy issues have been highlighted by several digital rights organizations around the world, including the Internet Freedom Foundation. They are concerned that the app might have unintended consequences that violate users’ privacy rights and could end up being used as a surveillance tool.
The primary purpose of the app is to track who in India is currently presenting coronavirus symptoms, and who isn’t.