While everyone is in a rush to link Aadhar card to this and that, a shocking breach surfaced when more than a billion Aadhar details were found to be on an open sale.
The revelation was made by The Tribune, who carried out an investigation into the matter. They contacted a person via Whatsapp, who was selling Aadhar data for mere Rs. 500. Upon making the payment through Paytm, a “gateway” was sent with login credentials. Here, one could enter any Aadhar number and get all the personal details related to it, including name, address, photo, contact number and PIN code. For an additional amount of 300, a special software was also provided that could print any Aadhar card like it was original.
UIDAI had explicitly stated in November last year, that the Aadhar data was completely safe and secure and without any breach. When the UIDAI Chandigarh office was informed about this “sale”, the officers expressed shock. Despite the claim that only the Director-General and ADG of UIDAI had the login access to the portal, it is evident that there was a huge breach of security.
The breach has many long-reaching implications. While Saket Modi (ethical hacker and part of the team behind BHIM) claimed that the most vital information, that is, the biometrics is safe, it does not expunge the government from the blame. Even though details like phone number, mail address and Aadhar number are frequently used in various processes, it does not mean that the data could be sold like a commodity. It also renders the upcoming Data Protection Law useless, because we don’t know how much data has already been leaked.
The whole matter is still amidst fog and smoke. Various complaints have been made over the months regarding the loss of funds in bank accounts, though it is not clear if it is directly related to the linking of Aadhar with bank accounts. The Tribune tried giving a detailed report of the matter, but many aspects are still not explained and no clear explanation has been provided by UIDAI either.
However, it is clear that Aadhar identification program has backfired miserably on the government. While the government wanted to make India the first country having a single, biometric-supported Identification, it seems far from possible right now.