comscore Supreme Court bench to discuss Right to Privacy; meanwhile Aadhaar details leak on 210 government sites: Report

Supreme Court bench to discuss Right to Privacy; meanwhile Aadhaar details leak on 210 government sites: Report

The government admitted to the leak during a Supreme Court hearing regarding privacy being a fundamental right.


Aadhaar has been a controversial topic due to security concerns around personal information of citizens. Instances of data breach have been reported in the past. For the first time, in front of a Supreme Court bench, the government admitted to Aadhaar data of individuals being leaked on as many as 210 government sites. Also Read - How to update old photo in Aadhaar Card: Follow these simple steps

Also Read - Lost your Aadhaar card? Here's how to download a copy via your phone

Personal details, including Aadhaar numbers, were leaked online. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the authority established by the government to issue Aadhaar number to individuals has been aware of the breach and is working on delisting the visible Aadhaar details from the central and state government websites. Despite the details easily available, the government continues to claim that there has been no breach of data from UIDAI. In fact, it is believed that private companies leaked the data. The government also added that biometrics information continues to be secure. Also Read - What is Blue Aadhaar Card, how to apply for it free of cost

“Around 210 websites of Central government and state government departments, including educational institutes, were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address and other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public. UIDAI (the Unique Identification Authority of India) has taken note of the same and is regularly monitoring the status to get the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT PP Chaudhary said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha. ALSO READ: UIDAI launches mAadhaar app; here s how it works

Aadhaar is now mandatory in the country for even non-government services such as filing IT returns, opening a Bank Account, or getting a SIM card. Most telephone operators have started sending messages to customers to link their 12-digit Aadhaar numbers with existing SIM cards. Reliance Jio, the latest entrant in the telecom service provider race in the country recently came under the scanner for facing a hack into its database, resulting in a vast pool of user data (including Aadhaar details of a few) were listed on a website online and could easily be accessed by anyone. ALSO READ: Uber, Ola, Airbnb might soon use Aadhaar for identification: Report

The government is also working on linking Aadhaar to the individual’s PAN card. With PAN card and Aadhaar, both containing a host of sensitive information along with biometrics, a breach or any leak can compromise biometrics. In the wrong hands, it could create a lot of complications for the government as well as the citizens. A Supreme Court bench has been set up specially to look into the matter. The bench will contemplate on whether privacy is a fundamental right of individuals and the verdict on Aadhaar will be delivered in accordance with the decision. ALSO READ: Website that leaked Reliance Jio customer data pulled down, Jio claims user data secure

UIDAI permits the sharing of Aadhaar data (barring biometrics) with registered and verified private players. Even banking services are not secure as Axis Bank and a couple of others came under the UIDAI scanner for making unverified payments using Aadhaar. The Aadhaar payments by Axis bank were put on hold till the matter was resolved. As the country is taking baby steps towards digitization, unfortunately, the security systems are not in place to deal with the negative consequences. From fake Aadhaar enrollments to the issue over the de-linking of a person’s Aadhaar details will be heard by the bench.

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  • Published Date: July 20, 2017 9:36 AM IST
  • Updated Date: July 20, 2017 1:47 PM IST

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