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Coronavirus: India may be working on a tracker app using location data

The app will determine if the user was near any coronavirus or COVID-19 patient. Digging deeper, it looks like the app will use a database of infected people and their travel history. Let's take a closer look.

  • Published: March 26, 2020 3:40 PM IST
CoWin-20 Nitiaayog coronavirus tracker poster

It looks like NITI Aayog, the policy think-tank of Government of India is currently working on a coronavirus tracking app. According to the information available, this app is aimed at informing users if they were close to anyone infected. This will ensure that users can self-quarantine or at least get themselves tested. The report regarding the app revealed that this app is currently known as CoWin-20. Developers of the app currently seem to be testing both the Android as well as iOS versions of the app. The report also noted that the developers are currently testing the app with a “select group of users”. Let’s have a closer look. Also Read - WHO had labelled gaming as a disorder, now suggests it during lockdown for coronavirus

Coronavirus tracker app details

According to a report from TheNextWeb, the CoWin-20 app will make use of the location data and Bluetooth for tracking. The app will determine if the user was near any coronavirus or COVID-19 patient. Digging deeper, it looks like the app will use a database of infected people and their travel history. The travel history will help the app isolate the areas to focus on the potential infection. As per the report, the app will also be able to inform users if they are in an area with a high number of coronavirus cases. The app will need permission to access your location data. Also Read - Coronavirus: iPhone maker Foxconn and Wistron Corp suspend production in India

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Giving permission to access location data is enough to raise privacy concerns. However, the app claims that the location data will be encrypted and limited to your smartphone. This means that the data will stay on the smartphone of the user. It also indicates that all the actual tracking and analysis may take place on the smartphone itself. The report clarified that the app will only share your data if you have tested positive for the coronavirus. In fact, the location data will only be shared with the health ministry in that case. The app revealed that it will not share the name and contact details of the patient in the public domain. Also Read - Huawei, Honor smartphones get extended warranty in India due to Coronavirus lockdown: Check details

CoWin-20 Nitiaayog coronavirus tracker app screenshots

CoWin-20 will allow the health ministry to send a notification to suspected patients. It will only work if and when a large number of users install ti on their smartphone. In addition, as per a report from News18, the app also provides links to coronavirus help-centers. It is also worth noting that India is not the first country to work on such an app. Israel and Singapore have already launched similar apps and tools to combat COVID-19.

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  • Published Date: March 26, 2020 3:40 PM IST



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