Thursday, Aug 06, 2020 | Last Update : 04:37 AM IST

135th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra46826530552116476 Tamil Nadu2734602148154461 Andhra Pradesh1864611043541681 Karnataka151449746792804 Delhi1402321261164044 Uttar Pradesh104388605581857 West Bengal83800589621846 Telangana7095850814576 Gujarat65704485612529 Bihar6203140760349 Assam4816233429115 Rajasthan4667932832732 Haryana3779631226448 Odisha3768124483258 Madhya Pradesh3508225414912 Kerala279561629988 Jammu and Kashmir2239614856417 Punjab1901512491462 Jharkhand140705199129 Chhatisgarh10109761369 Uttarakhand8008484795 Goa7075511460 Tripura5520367528 Puducherry4147253758 Manipur301818147 Himachal Pradesh2879171013 Nagaland24056594 Arunachal Pradesh179011053 Chandigarh120671520 Meghalaya9173305 Sikkim7832971 Mizoram5022820
  Technology   In Other news  27 May 2020  Aarogya Setu source code made public days after MIT tech review downgrades app rating

Aarogya Setu source code made public days after MIT tech review downgrades app rating

THE ASIAN AGE | ADITYA CHUNDURU
Published : May 27, 2020, 9:01 pm IST
Updated : May 27, 2020, 9:01 pm IST

A few days ago, MIT tech review reduced the rating for the app from 2 stars to 1 star, saying it collected far more data than needed.

Currently, only the code for the Android version of the app is being made open source. (Representative Image)
 Currently, only the code for the Android version of the app is being made open source. (Representative Image)

Hyderabad: After much public debate and demands from the developer community, the union government announced it would be making the source code for Aarogya Setu public.

The source code will be made available to the general public on Github on Tuesday midnight. In essence, open-sourcing the code will allow the developer community to study the code, find bugs and vulnerabilities in it, thereby making the application more secure in the future.

 

The Aarogya Setu app, downloaded by more than 11.5 crore people till now, is meant for contact tracing during the Covid-19 pandemic. For several weeks, privacy activists have criticised the app’s unclear privacy policy and closed source nature.

In a rare move, the decision to open source Aarogya Setu was announced at a press conference in New Delhi. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said the government had always planned to open source the code. However, its immediate priority was contact-tracing. “So we focused on [contact-tracing]. Now we are making it open source,” he said.

Currently, only the code for the Android version of the app is being made open source. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary, Meity, said 98 per cent of all users were using it on an Android device, hence it is the predominant platform. He added that over a period of time, the KaiOS (Jio phones) and iOS (Apple phones) versions would be made available too. The official press release says the server-side code too would be made public subsequently.

 

Sawhney dismissed reports of privacy concerns. He said, “[Aarogya Setu] is one of the finest contact-tracing apps [...] It is built with privacy in mind.”

It may be noted that only a few days ago, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review, who studied the app, graded it with one out of five stars, downgrading it from the earlier two stars. The researchers felt the app collected far more data than it needed.

The government has also announced a reward programme for developers who find bugs in the source code and suggest code improvement. In both cases, they stand to win Rs 1 lakh each.

The app has reportedly helped identify five lakh people who had come in contact of those who had tested positive for Covid-19. The National Health Authority has reached out to nine lakh people overall to advise about quarantine, testing or caution, said the press release.

 

Also, more than two-thirds of the 11.5 crore people who downloaded the app have used its ‘self-assessment’ feature.

Tags: aarogya setu, source code, data privacy