As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across India, the Union government is reportedly working on a mobile app to raise awareness of its surroundings. According to a report, the CoWin-20 app, which is currently in the test phase, is designed to ensure that citizens do not travel to locations affected by COVID-19 and follow their surroundings with a view to the pandemic. The app is also reported to help users track all recent contacts who are later diagnosed with the disease. It is still unclear when and how the government plans to launch the Coronavirus Tracker app. Another Indian government corona virus tracking app is currently available for Android users on the Google Play Store.
According to News18, the app is in operation developed by NITI Aayog and will eventually be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple App store. The report added that the CoWin-20 app is already being introduced to a select group of users via an APK.
The reports show that the app aims to:
- Monitor the status of community distribution from Corona virus by the location of the users.
- Notify users when they are near a COVID-19 infected patient.
- Send notifications to users who have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19
The beta of the CoWin-20 app was also rated by The Next Web found that the government collects user data related to the coronavirus pandemic via Bluetooth. “The app uses Bluetooth to check whether you are within a meter of an infected person,” the report said.
The report added that the app includes a map-like feature to track a user’s location history. “With MAP 19, I’ve found every place I’ve visited and every person 5 feet away from me in the past 14 days,” the report said.
The Next Web also suspects that some features of the beta version may not be included in the final version of the CoWin-20 app. While the privacy of the user is also being questioned in the app, the next web report suggested that the app first ask for “permission to access location data”. The government had “promised to keep the data encrypted”.
While some aspects of the rumored app remain in the dark, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has also developed its corona virus tracking app. The app is called Corona Kavach and is available in the Google Play App Store and it “performs analysis and provides information about active COVID-19 cases in India.”
India is currently blocked nationwide due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The country until Thursday testifies 13 pandemic deaths.