he PIL mentioned that only 35% of India’s population owns a smartphone and this would mean that lower income groups would miss government services and opportunity to travel.

 Karnataka HC issues notice to Centre over mandatory usage of Aarogya Setu appRepresentational image/pixcy
news Coronavirus Friday, June 05, 2020 - 09:06

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Central government over the mandatory use of Aarogya Setu’ app amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A bench headed by Chief Justice AS Oka issued the notice while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the matter.

The petitioner in his PIL demanded that the use of the app be made voluntary instead of the mandatory rule for availing government facilities or for travelling on trains and flights.

The Hindu reported that the petition was filed by one Anivar A Aravind who is a software engineer based in Bengaluru and also works for a city-based non-profit focused on democratising technology.

His primary contention in the PIL is that the mandatory usage rule of the Aarogya Setu app works only in favour of those owning a smartphone and also stressed on issues related to breach of privacy of individuals. Further, the petitioner argued that the mobile phone being a personal device owned by the user, the government did not have a right or authority to direct usage of the app.

Live Law reported that the matter will be heard again on June 12 and asked the government to respond by then.

The petition also mentioned that while other democratic countries have also gone for similar solutions for contact tracing, the usage of those apps was voluntary and further, those apps were mostly using Bluetooth signals as opposed to the location of the user.

The Hindu quoted the petitioner as stating that when the purpose of the app is to tell users if they have got in touch with an infected person, it can be done with the help of Bluetooth rather than tracking the location of the user. 

The petition mentioned that only 35% of India’s population owns a smartphone and this would mean that lower income groups would miss government services and opportunity to travel.

The petition also invoked the Puttaswamy judgement which outlined the principle of “data minimisation and purpose limitation”, the Live Law report said.

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