Centre considers pre-installed government software in all Android phones

Despite concerns about India’s data protection laws, the Indian government is considering introducing pre-installed government apps in all new mobiles.

Image Courtesy:zdnet.com

The Centre is considering introducing pre-installed government software in all new mobile phones, said news reports on October 3. This change would allow the government to monitor its citizens.

According to Economic Times, this proposal is part of a larger plan to establish an Indian app store independent of Apple and Google. The plan would involve adding government apps to Android phones which account for 96 percent of the country’s market.

However, this suggestion by the government also raises privacy concerns like data harvesting. India has few data protection laws as it is and the Centre has already been accused of mass surveillance via the Aarogya Setu coronavirus contact-tracing app.

The app collects a user’s location data along with their name, phone number, age, sex, profession and countries visited in the last 30 days and cross references it with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s COVID-19 database. Aarogya Setu sends this information to a government server to keep a record of all places visited by a person every 15 minutes and update their health status. Organisations like the International Freedom Foundation warned against such mass surveillance apps especially considering India’s poor privacy laws.


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