Contact Tracing Apps: Compromising Privacy in a Pandemic​​

Rachna D Dubey
School of Law, Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore, India.

Volume IV, Issue I, 2021

The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought the world to an impasse in 2020 and set off mandatory lockdowns all around the world to contain this lethal virus. With long quarantine periods and asymptomatic carriers, it had become challenging to track and restrict the virus. Technology played a vital role in combating the virus due to its accessibility and extensive reach.  One such measure taken by countries to track the virus is the contact tracing apps like Aarogya Setu. However, these contact tracing apps raised many privacy concerns and posed a significant challenge to data protection and security. The right to privacy is elevated as a fundamental right, and any breach of this right is an attack on the constitution itself. This paper aims to study the privacy threats contact tracing apps pose through a constitutional perspective. A comparative study is made to analyze the working of contact tracing apps by other countries like the United States and European Union and how they overcome the privacy challenges these apps put forward. This paper also addresses critical recommendations that can be adopted to better implement these apps without any threat to the right to privacy and strike a harmonious construction between Doctrine of Necessity and Right to Privacy.

Keywords: Contact Tracing Apps, Right to Privacy, Aarogya Setu, COVID-19.