The government has denied privacy concerns in the Aarogya Setu app once again
Contact tracing remains a key problem for the government as the number of cases rise
Startups are pitching in to solve the availability of testing kits in India
On lockdown day 44, the government’s contact-tracing Aarogya Setu was in the limelight once again for alleged privacy concerns. Despite several privacy-related concerns around the mandatory use of the app, this is the first security flaw highlighted.
French ethical hacker Robert Baptiste, who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter, said that anyone with the right technical know-how can find out the Covid-19 status of a given area by exploiting a flaw that allows users to set a location within the Aarogya Setu application. Using the flaw, Alderson was able to find that five people each in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and defence ministry who had reported that they were feeling unwell on May 6, besides other sensitive locations.
In response, the Indian government has denied any security issues in Aarogya Setu, which was developed in a public-private partnership. “No personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk by this ethical hacker,” the government said, but contact tracing remains a controversial issue with a host of privacy-related questions.
When it comes to testing beyond the basic self-assessment test in the Aarogya Setu app, Indian startups are taking charge of solving the gaps. Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions said that it has expanded its production capacity to manufacture Covid-19 RT-PCR test kits that would enable two lakh tests per day to meet the growing demand in the country. Until now, Mylab has already manufactured testing kits for conducting 6.5 lakh tests and has supplied them to 140 sites, including labs and hospitals in over 20 states.
Startups Pivot And Cope With Lockdown
In the ecommerce world, Amazon India said that it is now enabling delivery of essential items to residents in containment zones in Mumbai, in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Following successful pilots over the last few weeks, the company has scaled up the initiative to deliver essentials in many containment zones in the city. Amazon will deliver these orders to a designated delivery point in the vicinity of the containment zone, from where volunteers will further deliver the packages to the customer’s doorstep.
Also, Uber announced a partnership with Nature’s Basket to provide residents in Mumbai and Pune access to essential supplies at their doorsteps, amid the ongoing lockdown. This partnership will provide customers access to Nature’s Basket stores located in Bandra, Chembur, Lokhandwala and Prabhadevi in Mumbai, and in Aundh in Pune. In line with government guidelines to contain the spread of Covid-19, all driver-partners associated with this service are being provided masks, gloves, sanitisers and safety training to ensure the highest possible safety and hygiene standards.
Uber introduced its last-mile delivery service last month in response to the nationwide lockdown to keep vital supply chains running and to provide citizens with access to everyday essentials.