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India’s Aarogya Setu App Goes Open Source


India has finally released the source code of its coronavirus tracking app, Aarogya Setu, on GitHub, nearly two months after its launch coupled with several privacy-related concerns.

The makers of the app have released the source code of the Android version, while the iOS version is expected to be released as open source within the next two weeks.

There are more than 114 million people using the app right now, with almost 98 percent of Aarogya Setu users currently on the Android platform.

“With the release of the source code in the public domain, we are looking to expanding collaboration and to leverage the expertise of top technical brains amongst the talented youth and citizens of our nation and to collectively build a robust and secure technology solution to help support the work of frontline health workers in fighting this pandemic together,” the Indian government said.

Announcing a bug country program, the government also said that it will offer cash prizes of up to $1,325 for finding bugs in the app. The program would enable security researchers and the Indian developer community to test the effectiveness of Aargoya Setu. It will also improve or enhance its security as well as build user trust, the government said.

“Aarogya Setu application is developed keeping in mind the “Privacy by design principle”. Despite the best measures taken, the presence of vulnerabilities may exist. When such vulnerabilities are found, Government would like to learn of them as soon as possible, allowing it to take swift action to fix them and thereby enhance the security,” the statement added.

The platform has been aiding frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 since its launch in April this year. The Aarogya Setu app is said to offer a comprehensive suite of interventions against COVID-19 and has registered several firsts in the eight weeks since its launch.