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  • 24 August, 2020

  • 9 Min Read

Open API Service in Aarogya Setu

Open API Service in Aarogya Setu

The government has announced a new feature 'Open API Service' for its contact tracing app Aarogya Setu.

Arogya Setu (under MEITy)

  • Aarogya Setu was launched in April 2020. It was developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
  • The motto of Aarogya Setu is ‘Main Surakshit, Hum Surakshit, Bharat Surakshit’. It is a contact tracing application.
  • Aarogya Setu has emerged as the most downloaded contact tracing App in the world, with more than 15 crore users.
  • It will help people identify risk of getting affected by Corona using bluetooth, algorithms and AI.
  • It Detects other nearby decides with same app.
  • Aarogya Setu app mandatory for returning NRIs, migrants.

Aarogya Setu data protocol norms issued

  • Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management issued an order notifying the Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020 that lays down guidelines for collection, processing, storage and sharing of "anonymised" data.
  • Encrypted data of all users, stored in their devices, got deleted automatically in 30 days.
  • Data of the users who undergo tests were kept for 45 days and for those who had tested positive, it was stored in server till 60 days from the day they recovered from the illness.

Aarogya Setu data includes

  • Demographic data: Name, Mobile number, Age, Travel history, Gender
  • Contact data: Close proximity.
  • Location data: Geographical location.
  • Self assessment data: Self assessment.
  • Health Ministry only assesses the data.

Issues of using Aarogya Setu App

  • Government has issued guidelines to the employers to ensure that all their employees install this app. K S Puttaswamy case of 2017 holds this as the violation of Right to Privacy.
  • Govt has no power to make app's use compulsory without legislative authorisation.
  • There is no law for app's purpose, functioning and nature.
  • The data-sharing and knowledge-sharing protocol for the Aarogya Setu is prone to misuse, considering that India still doesn’t have data protection laws.
  • There is no clarity about what data will be collected, for how long and for what use.
  • There is no specification on how Govt will use data.
  • There are less smartphone users in the country especially in the vulnerable sections of the society.
  • Hacker sees security flaws in Aarogya Setu.

The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu addresses the fear/risk of Covid-19 infections and will help the people, businesses and the economy to return to normalcy.

  • Here, organizations can take informed decisions regarding the presence of employees in office and the need to explore work from home. Thus, risk of contracting is reduced without much compromising on activities of the entity.
  • The Open API Service of Aarogya Setu, can be availed by organizations and business entities.
  • Conditions:
  • Entities who are registered in India.
  • Entities with more than 50 employees.
  • Benefits to Organizations and Business Entities:
  • They can use the Open API Service to query the Aarogya Setu Application in realtime.
  • They can get the health status of their employees or any other Aarogya Setu User.
  • The Open API Service enables organizations to check the status of Aarogya Setu and
  • integrate it into its various Work from Home features.
  • Privacy Issue Addressed:
  • The Open API shall only provide the Aarogya Setu status and name of the Aarogya
  • Setu User (strictly, with User's consent only).
  • No other personal data shall be provided through the API.


  • The term ‘API’ stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’.
  • An API is an interface that can be used to program software that interacts with an existing application.
  • In practice, an API is “a set of functions and procedures” that allow one to access and build upon the data and functionality of an existing application.

Open Source API

  • An open source API, also called public API, is an application programming interface made publicly available to software developers.
  • Open APIs are published on the internet and shared freely, allowing the owner of a network-accessible service to give universal access to consumers.
  • These are to support businesses with limited capital to invest in digital applications.
  • An overlapping term web service is a resource that’s made available over the internet.
  • A Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network.

APIs vs Web Services

  • APIs and web services are not mutually exclusive.
  • In fact, one is a subset of the other: every web service is an API — since it exposes an application’s data and/or functionality — but not every API is a web service. This is because the definition of a web service is quite restrictive:
  • Web services require a network. While APIs can be online or offline, web services must use a network.
  • APIs are protocol agnostic. While APIs can use any protocols or design styles, web services usually use specific protocols.
  • Web services are not open source generally: Instead, they tend to offer specific data and/or functionality to specific partners. Thus they are less prone to hacking than API.

Source: TH

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