Almost every major developed country on earth is deploying its own COVID19 contact tracing app with varying success. European countries remain engulfed in a political and ideological battle over what’s considered private, and what’s not. Some countries in Europe such as the UK have yet to even deploy their app nationwide.
At the same time, India is full steam ahead. Today it was announced that the countries Aarogya Setu, or COVID19 contact tracing app hit 100 million downloads. While there is no way to verify this claim, given the app was only released on April 2nd, it would make it a new record.
TechCrunch says they are able to confirm via a correspondent that the 100 million user figure is based on “unique” users, not simply those who have the app downloaded. Unique users would entail anyone actively using the app and its contact tracing capabilities.
The app ranks number one on the Apple App Store, and Google Play Store in India, with the developers saying they are working on bringing it to more low-range phones. However, the apps high download rates might be due to its mandatory downloading. The Indian Ministry of Railways announced that any passenger using any of the Indian railways must have the app on their phones. If not, they may still be allowed to board but must download it once arriving at the designation.
Additionally, the app stores location data and logs all user activity, including any symptoms that are reported. As TechCrunch notes, the Indian government has rejected any such claims. Even calling it “the safest app ever.” The app remains a closed source, meaning no independent research group is able to look at the code and analyze what it’s doing with user data.