According to a report in the Indian Express, the high court has also restrained the Centre and the National Informatics Centre from sharing data of users obtained via the app without their consent in response to a petition filed by privacy activist Anivar Aravind.
“Till further orders, we hereby restrain the Government of India and National Informatics Centre, the eighth and seventh respondents, respectively, from sharing the response data by applying the provisions of the Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020, issued vide order dated May 11, 2020 unless the informed consent of the users of Aarogya Setu app is taken,” the court said.
The court, however, declined to stay the use of the app or use of data of the users already collected through it. During the pendency of the petition, the petitioner had sought a direction from the court to restrain the Centre from proceeding with the app and with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from the members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary.
The court also said that the Centre and the National Informatics Centre can file an affidavit to satisfy the court regarding the legal sanctity of orders issued by the chairperson of the Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management. It also held that the informed consent of the app’s users should be taken for sharing data, as laid out in the protocol.
“The sharing of health data of a citizen without his/her consent will necessarily infringe his/her right of privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, prima facie, the said protocol regarding sharing of ‘response data’ cannot be permitted to be implemented,” the court observed.
Last year in October, the Karnataka high court had held the government could not deny any service or benefit to citizens for not installing the Aarogya Setu app on their phones in the absence of any legislation.