Aadhaar Data Leak Reported Again. You May Not be Safe Online

Aadhaar Cards in India. Photo courtesy: UIDAI
Aadhaar Cards in India. Photo courtesy: UIDAI

As India claims to be a democratic country, the government has no right to impose its ill-will by way of Aadhaar on the people.

By Rakesh Raman

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has emphatically refuted yet another media report that has highlighted a major security lapse in the management of Aadhaar database.

A tech news site ZDNet had reported Friday that the Aadhaar “data leak affects potentially every Indian citizen subscribed to the database.”

The ZDNet report quoted a security researcher to suggest that the UIDAI database was leaking information on every Aadhaar holder. However, UIDAI dismissed the report as baseless.

“We refute the reports in a certain section of media sourced from ZDNet which quote a person purportedly claiming to be a security researcher that a state-owned utility company has vulnerability which can be used to access huge amount of Aadhaar data including banking details,” UIDAI said in one of its tweets.

Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI on behalf of the Government of India. This number serves as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.

Although the Supreme Court of India has extended the March 31 deadline for an indefinite period for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with mobile phones and bank accounts, UIDAI and certain dubious banks / companies are still pressing the consumers to share their Aadhaar details with them.

[ No Deadline for Linking Aadhaar with Mobile and Bank Account ]

It is largely believed that the Narendra Modi government has been trying to impose Aadhaar on the people of India in order to control all their personal data. It is also said that the government wants to use Aadhaar for winning elections unscrupulously.

Of late, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India Om Prakash Rawat has been quoted as saying that he prefers a connectivity between Indian citizens’ Aadhaar numbers and voters’ identity.

The Election Commission, which is totally under the control of Modi government, is petitioning the Supreme Court for linking Aadhaar and voter ID cards.

Rawat, a retired bureaucrat, believes that biometric data in Aadhaar should confirm the identity of voters before they use the electronic voting machine (EVM) to cast their vote.

Although there have been numerous complaints about the shoddy handling of Aadhaar data, the UIDAI has always tried to suppress these reports with intimidation in a despotic manner.

Earlier in January, UIDAI had decided to file an FIR against a journalist who had written a media report for The Tribune titled “Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details.”

The UIDAI had also dismissed a news report that said “210 Government sites made Aadhaar info public.” A UIDAI statement claimed that the news report is a skewed presentation of the facts.

But UIDAI could never explain the necessity of Aadhaar for millions of Indian citizens who have multiple other documents such as passports, ration cards, driving licenses, and so on to prove their identities.

In fact, the government wants to use Aadhaar as a digital tool to secretly monitor the activities of Indian citizens in order to control them in an autocratic manner. But as India claims to be a democratic country, the government has no right to impose its ill-will by way of Aadhaar on the people.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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