Need to strike right balance between public health and individual’s right to privacy

Author: Venkatesh Hariharan

The article was first published in The Indian Express on April 10, 2020. The views are of the individual author.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has brought into sharp focus the promise and perils of data surveillance in the healthcare sector. As India faces an unprecedented public health crisis that has resulted in a countrywide lockdown, policymakers are trying to figure out exit strategies. Ultimately, lockdowns are brute force instruments and are unsustainable over long periods of time. To bring daily life back to normal at the earliest, some governments are deploying apps for self-diagnosis, contact tracing, quarantine and curfew passes as mitigation strategies. For example, the Indian government has launched the Aarogya Setu app for contact tracing, and as a medium for sharing authentic information with citizens.

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