The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday denied the report claiming Aadhaar data breach, saying that the data including biometric information is fully safe and secure. The denial comes on the back of a report by Chandigarh-based The Tribune, which reported that the Aadhaar data was being sold for Rs 500.
The UIDAI said that the “reported case appears to be an instance of misuse of the grievance redressal search facility” and the legal action including lodging of FIR against the persons involved in the instant case is being done. Explaining the situation UIDAI said, it has given the said search facility for the purpose of grievance redressal to the designated personnel and state government officials to help residents only by entering their Aadhaar number/EID.
UIDAI reiterated that no biometric data was compromised. “The grievance redressal search facility gives only limited access to name and other details and has no access to biometric details. UIDAI reassures that there has not been any data breach of biometric database which remains fully safe and secure with highest encryption at UIDAI and mere display of demographic information cannot be misused without biometrics,” UIDAI added.
In November, another report based on an RTI reply said that Aadhaar details were made public on over 200 central and state government websites. According to the RTI reply, these websites publicly displayed name, address and other details of Aadhaar beneficiaries, which was removed when the breach was identified. The report was also denied by UIDAI.
Aadhaar — the 12-digit random number — has already embarked upon to become the identity of over 1.17 billion Indians and their financial activities. The Narendra Modi government has been advocating a mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services with an aim to bring more transparency into the system, which led to a slew of petitions in the Supreme Court questioning the Aadhaar scheme, its mandatory linking and its existence as the money bill.
In a landmark judgement this August, the Supreme Court ruled that privacy was a fundamental right of citizens. As many as 27 petitions have been filed in different courts to strike down the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with different documents. The Supreme Court may give the final verdict on Aadhaar on January 17.