A Covid tracker app is on its way in English and all major Indian languages. The government is likely to launch the smart phone application to help users check if they crossed paths with patients who tested positive for coronavirus.
The app is called CoWin-20, and it is now being tested on both Android and iOS. The app's aim is to track a user's location and alert the user if he or she is around a COVID-19 patient. According to Government officials, the app is being examined by a committee and efforts are being put in by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and the Niti Aayog.
A user's location data will be used by the CoWin-20 app, along with the phone's Bluetooth to gauge if the user has been near a person who was infected by COVID-19. It will also inform a user if she or she around an area that is COVID-19 infected.
Features of the Co-Win app
This might raise privacy concerns for some users but the app will ask for a user's permission to always access location data. The app however will keep the data encrypted.
Data of a user will only be shared with the health ministry if the user has been tested positive for the disease. It isn't yet entirely clear how the government will track those people and match up their location data in the app.
The distance at which the app will inform a user about a COVID-19 positive patient will be 6 ft. In case a user is found to be in close contact with a COVID-19 patient, he or she will be notified by the health ministry to go and get a test done.
If someone tests positive for COVID-19 and you met that person at a gathering some days back, the health ministry will trace back all touchpoints of that person, through the active devices that were in close radius of that person, in the past 14 days.
A notification to all the members, including you, will be sent for getting a screening done. The code seems to also suggest a map-like feature to trace your location history and people you've been in contact with.
This explains why the app might need to continuously track your location. There have been cases when people have fled the quarantine facilities and in such cases, the Government might want to use an app that can notify authorities if people under quarantine are moving around in public.