Niti Aayog has just announced that it is making its contact tracing app open source. This announcement comes weeks after security experts across the globe criticized the app for its closed source. In addition, researchers also pointed to potentially dangerous user data privacy flaws in the app. The government organization noted that this shift comes just eight weeks after the development of the app. Press Information Bureau live-streamed the announcement event on its official YouTube handle. Niti Aayog also shared the information regarding the move in a lengthy press briefing. Let’s check out the details related to making the Aarogya Setu app open source here. Also Read - Aarogya Setu: Government softens stance on contact tracing app in Lockdown 4.0
Aarogya Setu is open-source now; details
The organization revealed that it is launching the source code for the Android version. Niti Aayog confirmed that it will share the code for the iOS version of the app in the near future. K. VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Adviser for the government, Amitabh Kant, the CEO for Niti Aayog, and Dr. Neeta Verma, the Director-General at NIC shared details regarding the move. Kant noted that they always intended to make the app open source. He went on to state that the organization focused on adding the contact tracing feature before making it open source. Also Read - Aarogya Setu contact tracing app launched on JioPhone
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Kant highlighted that this move is unique considering the sale of the user base. He also noted that about 115 million users are using the app to combat coronavirus. The app works on multiple categories of devices including Reliance Jio Phone, and IVRS. The user base of the app reached 50 million in 13 days and 100 million in 41 days. This makes Aarogya Setu the largest contact tracing app around the globe. Also Read - Contact tracing: Here is what the latest buzz word means in the fight against COVID-19
— Aarogya Setu (@SetuAarogya) May 26, 2020
The Niti Aayog CEO thanked all the people including the developers for creating the Aarogya Setu app. Kant also noted that all the upcoming updates will be available through this code repository. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, the Secretary at Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India revealed that about 98 percent of Aarogya Setu users are on Android.
Sawhney went on to note that any piece of software out there is prone to imperfections. Niti Aayog also launched an official Bug Bounty program divided into three different categories of risk. It invited developers to go through the code to suggest improvements and fixes. Niti Aayog also released documentation regarding the app along with a FAQ section. The code will go live starting from May 27, 2020.