Sharad Sharma, the founder of iSPIRIT, has admitted to being the man behind @Confident_India, a Twitter account known to mercilessly troll Aadhaar critics. He shared an apology through his personal Twitter account. The apology has sparked off another debate on social media with some supporting and appreciating the apology, while others condemning his act and calling the apology ‘insufficient’. Also Read - How to update old photo in Aadhaar Card: Follow these simple stepsAlso Read - Happy Dusshera 2021 messages, images, stickers, quotes: How to create, send Happy Vijayadashami greetings via WhatsApp
This came to light when Kiran Jonnalagadda, a founding member of Internet Freedom Foundation, blamed Sharma of creating multiple fake accounts to troll Aadhaar critics online. The critics would regularly point out the insecurities in Aadhaar and the Indian government’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude in protecting the data of billions of registered members. iSPIRIT has been closely associated with UIDAI, and in the past maintained that Aadhaar is completely secure, unlike what critics claim. Also Read - Twitter may soon pay Spaces creators under its new accelerator programme
Sharma took to Twitter to share a long apology, and also mentioned that he was insecure about tweeting with his own name, and thus resorted to creating a fake account to mock Aadhaar questioners. He also mentioned that it was a lapse of judgment on his part. On owning up, a iSPIRIT Guidance and Compliance committee has been set up by the Governing Council to look into the matter, and take necessary action. ALSO READ: Fake WhatsApp messages lead to killing of 7 alleged kidnappers in Jharkhand
Nandan Nilekani, ex chairman of the UIDAI, has appreciated Sharma’s gesture but Aadhaar critics continue to deny acceptance of the apology. The critics instead mentioned how the apology raises further questions regarding Aadhaar’s security. Many have wondered why Sharad Sharma or iSPIRIT, associated so closely with UIDAI, had to resort to trolling to answer critic questions. Why could the questions not be answered in a serious manner? Critics are also left wondering whether post the apology, UIDAI will be able to successfully answer every critic questions related to Aadhaar security.
On my flight back from the US, I reflected on my recent behaviour on Twitter…. I unreservedly apologize to all who were hurt… more below pic.twitter.com/IinZIg2yi2
Sharad Sharma (@sharads) May 23, 2017
Jonnalagadda too has responded to the apology in a detailed Medium post, where he questions Sharma’s actions and also the entire purpose of UIDAI. He has also questioned the apology wondering why it seems incomplete and mentions no other names who trolled via the same account. The post shares a complete history of his interactions with Sharma and allied accounts on Twitter including how he figured and leaked that @Confident_India was indeed operated by Sharma. ALSO READ: Aadhaar is completely secure from malware: UIDAI chairman
His post mentions, “That s right! iSPIRT has an officially sanctioned trolling program where the trolls coordinate on WhatsApp and attack together on Twitter, exactly the behaviour seen in all the tweets above and I ve only covered the leader s tweets. There are at least a dozen known troll accounts that attack in packs.These people launched a formal program to troll critics, gave it a public name, held a meeting to announce the program, styled themselves archers and swordsmen , mailed this deck around to their members, and then proceeded to anonymously harass critics on Twitter. What did they think was going to happen?”