US tech giants Google and Apple have approached the Indian government to include their contact-tracing API (application programme interface) in the Aarogya Setu app.
Recently, Google and Apple jointly released a contact-tracing API on Android and iOS, respectively. An API is an enabling tool that needs to be embedded into an app-which then monitors a user's location and send alerts of any nearby COVID infected person on a Google or Apple phone.
However, the government is no keen on including Google and Apple API in Aarogya Setu.
"Aarogya Setu has an in-built contact-tracing API and thus may not require this," The Times of India quoted a government official as saying.
At present, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the UK, and Uruguay, are the countries that are using the Apple-Google contact tracing app.
This year, on April 10, Google and Apple announced a two-phase exposure notification solution that uses Bluetooth technology on mobile devices to aid in contact tracing efforts.
Google and Apple have stressed that the API does not violate users' privacy. According to Google and Apple, the system does not collect location data from a user's device. The user controls all data he/she wants to share. Exposure notification is only done on-device and under the user's control. In addition, people who test positive are not identified by the system to other users, or to Apple or Google. Both the companies have claimed that they will disable the exposure notification system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed.