Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma, while questioning the anti-Aadhaar campaigns by non-governmental organisations and civil society groups, said several multinational firms were being affected by Aadhaar since it was in conflict with their attempts to create their own database of users.
“It’s making a mountain out of a molehill. There are motivated campaigns being launched. Various multinationals are getting affected. There are companies, which are creating their own identities. Someone has called it digital colonisation. The fingerprint scanners on smartphones can be easily used for authenticating Aadhaar but they don’t allow it. A lot of fraudulent or Benami transactions can go down because of Aadhaar,” Sharma was quoted as saying by Indian Express. Even though he refused to give details on these companies, remarks are an apparent reference companies like Google and Facebook.
The TRAI chief’s comment has come at a time when civil society groups have expressed concerns on issues like privacy and accountability that come from Centre’s increasing use of Aadhaar. Several petitions filed by those opposing what they believe is the unchecked use of Aadhaar is in Supreme Court currently.
The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS), Bengaluru-based NGO had released a report pointing out that 130 million Aadhaar numbers were leaked on several government portals. Later, it updated its report saying there were no “leaks” or “leakages” but a “public disclosure”. The UDAI had served a show-cause notice to it S, asking for explanations.
Sharma defended UIDAI’s decision to send the notice to CIS , saying there was no leakage from Aadhaar or decryption of biometric data from the UIDAI server. He also made a case for comprehensive data protection law in the country. “There is a need for a larger data protection law. In today’s digitally connected world, data protection law is a must. Data security, its protocols, rules, responsibilities, accountabilities, damage, payments, compensations, all these issues must come in that law,” he was quoted to have said by Indian Express.