The Union government has made two major changes to the Cowin Portal after feedback from users across the country.
The new features are aimed at keeping bots out of the CoWIN portal and also help correct inadvertent errors in the vaccination certificate.
As per the new update by officials with the portal management team, users that carry out more than 1000 searches for vaccine slots and generating more than 50 slots OTPs in 24 hours will be blocked from the website. The mobile number used by the user will be placed under a ban for 24 hours from the time of the violation.
The government had earlier updated the portal such that users that make who make more than 20 search requests in a 15-minute session would be automatically logged out.
Experts believe that such large volume searches are strong indicators of a bot’s presence and thus the decision will help those registering manually.
The portal had earlier decided to do away with CAPTCHA verification after realizing that the CAPTCHAs couldn’t always keep the bots out and also affected the user experience on the site.
Since the vaccination program in India stepped into Phase-3 involving those between the age of 18-44, the technological divide has been there for everyone to see. While the government allowed developers to use the open-source API to create apps and websites for alerting users about the vaccine availability, several apps and services that automated the registration popped up, giving those with technical know-how an edge over those registering manually.
The use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and certain browser extensions registered users automatically as soon as the slots opened.
Edit vaccination certificates
Several users also complained about the inability to update vaccination certificates in case of an error in name, gender or year of birth. But the official handle of the Arogya Setu app took to Twitter to announce that users will now be able to make corrections to their vaccination certificates.
To update the certificate on the portal, users will have to verify their identity using the OTP sent on their registered mobile numbers. However, there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism in place to ensure that the updated details aren’t fake.