Have you (or someone you know) been asked to mandatorily download the Aarogya Setu app by your employer, school / university, resident welfare association, or for accessing services such as healthcare? Are you having any difficulties in accessing various tech-based solutions implemented by the government for receiving financial aid? Are drones being used in your locality to enforce the lockdown? Are you or others in your communities facing any kind of stigma or discrimination due to these measures? Are you facing parental or spousal control over access to mobile phones and the Internet during the lockdown? If so, we’re eager to hear from you!
The Government issued an order on 17 May 2020 that appeared to dilute the ‘mandatory’ nature of the Aarogya Setu app. According to this order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, employers on ‘best efforts’ are asked to ensure the downloading of the app. Additionally, District Authorities may also ‘advise’ individuals to download the app. This was a refreshing move as previously issued guidelines on the lockdown had made the app mandatory for both private and public employees as well as those in containment zones. At first sight, there seems to be a reason to celebrate. But is this the case in practice?
The paper proposes to change the approach to data and consent in the data governance regime. The authors Tripti Jain and Anja Kovacs reconceptualise the existing connotations of data by putting the bodies back in the debates around consent and data governance. The paper recommends that the findings from feminist research can help in rethinking consent in data protection both at the individual and structural level.
Listen to our researcher Tripti Jain explain it in details.
Let us know if you have any feedback or comments, or would like to get a copy of the final paper once published.
The Indian Government has launched the Aarogya Setu app as a response to COVID-19. While initially termed voluntary, we noticed that soon after its launch, the app started to be pushed by various governments, non-government establishments and private bodies as mandatory, or forced on people in other ways.
Our Aarogya Setu Tracker attempts to document all these cases. Access the Aarogya Setu Tracker here.
To make the tracker as exhaustive as possible, we need your help! If you come across relevant news items/orders (especially those in regional languages), please forward them to email@example.com or tag us on Twitter (@iNetDemocracy). After fact-checking the item, we will add it to the tracker.
This piece has been co-authored by Tripti Jain and Tanisha Ranjit.
As Aarogya Setu is becoming mandatory in a growing number of cases, it deserves to be asked: does the app ensure welfare for all - or not at all? In this column, we try to answer that question. We look in particular at the implications that the mandates pose on people’s lives and fundamental rights, especially on marginalised sections of the community. We also highlight the other concerns with the app: the issues of efficacy, potential tool for mass surveillance and exclusionary nature of the app. This opinion piece was originally published in The Quint, on 6 May 2020.
On 30 April, the Internet Democracy Project along with 44 organisations and over 100 individuals endorsed the statement against the mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu mobile application by employees of various public and private offices all over India. The Internet Freedom Foundation sent this joint representation to various Government officials, including the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah.
The Aarogya Setu app infringes the right to privacy and personal liberty, and is unbecoming of a democratic country. We stand in solidarity with the Internet Freedom Foundation and other rights based groups and Individuals to call it out.
The full text of the letter can be found on the IFF website as well as below.
We are thrilled to share our work as a part of Data Governance Network. The video titled, “Data is an extension of our body,” is one of the first in a series of four videos along with four well-researched papers on Body as Data and Data governance.
Data is considered to be a resource in various data governance regimes in India, that can be exploited by Government and private players alike but, in reality, this data is so much a part of the body that generates it. Our research shows that the data is embodied and any harm manifested from this data is as real and tangible as any other physical harm.
The Internet Democracy Project has provided extensive input in the joint letter written by SFLC to the Central and State Governments to protect individual privacy during COVID-19 Pandemic. The letter highlights excessive and unsupervised collection and usage of personal data of individuals for monitoring and surveillance that can cause irreversible harms to the privacy and bodily integrity of the individuals. The letter was signed by SFLC, the Internet Democracy Project and other non-profit organisations, civil society groups, lawyers, public policy professionals, social activists’ entrepreneurs and concerned citizens to flag the issues of individual privacy in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic.
The full text of the letter can be found on the SFLC website as well as below.