Authors: Tuisha Sircar and Pranav Menon

First Author Affiliation: Independent Researcher. Second Author Affiliation: Research Scholar, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.


Abstract: The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has fostered a technological determinism for deploying digital contact tracing tools across the globe. Such an overt reliance on technological tools for the emergent health risk from the pandemic has also magnified the existing socioeconomic and political risks embedded in neoliberal India today. In this context, we argue that the Aarogya Setu app, through its cultural embodiment and design, is being engendered and deployed by the state to nurture some of these existing risks as well as promulgate new ones. Moreover after analyzing its technocratic efficacy and highlighting its reflection of majoritarian politics, we also contend that the app is ‘inherently political’ while recording a user’s personal information. Thus, it becomes crucial to analyse the privacy implications for the user to develop strategies to resist the rampant datafication of lives promoted by such digital contact tracing tools.

Keywords: Corona, Datafication, Aarogya Setu, Covid-19, Neoliberal, Health Risk.


<< Published in Akademos 2021 Issue