Aarogya Setu: Privacy in the Time of the Pandemic

Maniya Goyal and Saloni Khandelwal
NMIMS, School Of Law, Mumbai, India.

Volume III, Issue V, 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every part of the human domain around the globe. It has taken countless lives and changed livelihood of many. What came as a boon from the app for India was the excess need for the implementation of the Data Protection Bill. A lot of countries brought forth contract tracing app as a strategy to tackle the pandemic and following the footsteps India too brought such an app called “Aarogya Setu” meaning bridge to health. The app was brought under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 which works as an umbrella clause for the government to take action in times of pandemic and national disasters. The paper discusses the legal framework behind the app and the loopholes surrounding the same. There have been various privacy concerns in relation to the app such as use of Bluetooth and GPS, liability clause, data breach to name a few which are further elaborated. Justice Srikrishna headed the committee to draft the Data Protection Bill, 2018. A critical viewpoint of Justice Srikrishna has also been discussed in the paper. Once the pandemic is over what will be the aftermath of the app?, whether the app is a result of an executive action or a legislative one?, is the app in consonance to the provisions of the IT Act and the Data Protection Bill?, are countries implementing a similar approach? Are some question which are addressed in the further segment of the paper. The paper ends with some conclusion and recommendation which can be brought forth thus instilling a trust factor in the citizens of the country.