Aarogya Setu Yet Another Mismanaged Opportunity

Aarogya Setu and why it was bound to fail

This time last year (April 2020), contact tracing was the rage. Pioneering implementation by economies like South Korea and Singapore to flatten the curve was appreciated but immediately privacy concerns were raised. Not in India though, the incumbent PM of India and Union cabinet are a staunchly opposed to civil society concerns or feedback of any manner. ‘Thy will be done’, is the administrative & mainstream media response to GoI’s plans.

  1. It will help you and your family to be safe by contact tracing
  2. Download the app now cause it is voluntarily mandatory

So what went wrong?

TLDR version:

Why the Indian initiative fell short:

  • Mandatory usage: The Modi-led regime with the ‘power of text box’ prior to the pandemic had forced Indians unique identification program dubbed Aadhar (support) to get state benefits*. Aarogya setu was yet another application built on Aadhar + mobile number stack to provide location of Covid-19 positive patients around you. In theory since mobile number is associated to Aadhar and Aadhar to your medical report, knowing who was positive was to be a peach. But, Indians are e-smart. While some used alternate numbers others just used screenshots to fake the system.
No seriously, God help India.

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