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Arogya Setu completely secure: Ravi Shankar Prasad


New Delhi, May 29: Amid privacy concerns, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday maintained that Arogya Setu was completely secure and there was no security or data breach in coronavirus tracking mobile application.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Prasad said that Aarogya Setu app is a product of India's digital mind and it traces and cautions individuals against the spread of the virus.

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"If you come in contact with anybody who is corona positive, Arogya Setu helps in tracing in most fair and objective manner. It is completely privacy proof. I is completely secure. All the data is encripted except the final data of the affected person which is conveyed to the district administration under no circumstances, the protoicoal which I have finalised, the data shall be retained beyond 180 days. 11.5 crore people have already downloaded the app," the law minister said.

Prasad was delivering the concluding speech during the Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon Memorial Lecture Series organized by Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, an organisation affiliated to RSS, on 'Legal & Digital Challenges for India Post Covid'. He also echoed the views of Bar Council of India on the resumption of physical/open court hearings in all courts across India and said he favours e-filing, video-conferencing but was not completely against physical arguments in courts.

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    "We are meeting in very challenging times. The world has changed beyond recognition. Could you believe that man was trying to go to Mars, making scientific inventions and one virus comes and derails the entire world? There is no vaccination until now and the economy has shattered globally. "Learn e-filing and e-arguments, this is the new world, don't know for how long this will go. Post COVID-19 world is going to be completely different. I advocate e-filing, video-conferencing but I am not completely against physical arguments in courts. What Bar Council of India has said is correct and we will discuss it, keeping safety in mind," Prasad said.

    The law minister appreciated the leadership and efforts of prime minister Narendra Modi and said that on his call the whole country stood with him and people clapped, lighted diyas to laud the efforts of frontline warriors fighting the battle against the deadly novel coronavirus. He said that excluding China, 15 countries of the world like USA, Spain, Russia etc which are affected by COVID-19, the total population of these countries is 142 crore while the population of India is 137 crore.

    "The total number of deaths in 15 countries is over 3.53 lakh while in India it is 4,500 approximately – this is what lockdown has done. I would never dispute that lockdown brings inconvenience. My friends cannot wear black coats and go to district courts, enjoy tea in canteen, talk to clients, or argue in High Court of the Supreme Court. You cannot meet your friends, go to markets, children can't attend school. Lockdown was not easy at all but it was needed to save lives and this is where we have succeeded," Prasad said.

    He said Prime Minister Modi has led a very transformative programmes like Digital India, Swachh Bharat, Ujwala Yojna etc. Digital India is designed to empower common people with technology and bring in digital inclusion by bridging digital divide. Prasad said that 37 crore jan dhan accounts have been opened for poor which have helped them to receive financial aid.

    "In the last 5 years, 11 lakh crore has been transferred through 'direct benefit transfer' scheme to the poor which has saved one lakh 70 thousand crore which was pocketed by middleman. This is Digital India in actual operation," the law minister said. He also talked about a Make-In-India video conferencing software and said it was better than ZOOM.

    Talking about IT industry, he said that work from home has become a new norm. with 85 per cent of the IT professionals working from home in times of pandemic outbreak. Prasad said, at present more than 16,000 courts are properly digitised and they have been given interent connection with 10 mbps speed. The law minister lauded the efforts of the Supreme Court in launching e-filing portal for lawyers and said most of the High Courts are hearing matters through video-conferencing and two lakh e-trials have taken place.

    "Learn e-filing and e-arguments, this is the new world, don't know for how long this will go. Post COVID-19 world is going to be completely different. I advocate e-filing, video-conferencing but I am not completely against physical arguments in courts," Prasad said. On the issue of fake news, he said, 'kuch logo ka kaam hai negativity failana'.

    To criticise is a right but some people try to weaken the morale of the country to create discord, divisiveness, separatism, hostility and there is a guard ourselves. Talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Prasad said that it is going to play a very big role in coming times. The question is how can we use AI in justice delivery. But one thing we have to keep in mind, a machine cannot take the place of human consciousness.

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