There’s an orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar: Nandan Nilekani

Nilekani said the issue has been blown out of proportion as Aadhaar have built far too many security layers and it is not possible to randomly pore it.

By: PTI | Bengaluru | Published: January 11, 2018 9:24 am
UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani

Former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani said there was an “orchestrated campaign” to malign Aadhaar. He was reacting to filing of an FIR on The Tribune newspaper report relating to Aadhaar data breach.

“There is hundred per cent an orchestrated campaign to see how Aadhaar gets maligned, yes absolutely,” Nilekani told ET Now on the sidelines of the Infosys Science Foundation Award here.

Delhi Police had on Monday registered the FIR on a complaint by an UIDAI official following the newspaper report on data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards, naming the journalist behind the story. The police was informed by the official that the correspondent, posing as a buyer, had purchased a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details of Aadhaar numbers.

Nilekani said the issue has been blown out of proportion as Aadhaar have built far too many security layers and it is not possible to randomly pore it. Further referring to FIR filed in the Tribune case, he said negative views on Aadhaar will have negative reactions and hence, it would be better for people to have a constructive view on it.

“If you are just taking a negative view, and not a constructive view, then you also have other (negative) reactions. I think, everybody has to accept Aadhaar is here to stay,” The former UIDAI chief said.

The Aadhaar is here to stay because as many as 119 crore people have it, 550 million have linked the numbers to their bank accounts and Rs 95,000 crore transferred into DBT accounts, he added.

Nilekani said he was very confident of the Supreme Court upholding Aadhaar under the fundamental right of privacy because it meets the test of the law being proportionate and reasonable.

Replying to a query, he welcomed putting in place a two-layer security to reinforce privacy protection for Aadhaar ID number holders by the UIDAI.

“I think this is a very significant announcement by UIDAI and in some sense it really makes the case against it go away,” he said.

The former UIDAI chief said it has introduced a virtual identification for ID holders so that the actual number need not be shared by the people to authenticate their identity.

Simultaneously, it has further regulated the storage of the Aadhaar number within various databases, he added.

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  1. Manoj
    Jan 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    Kiran Jonnalagadda has given a remarkably succinct and technically perfect clarification of the Aadhar fiasco. Any argument on the defense of Aadhar falls flat on its face. One can find the article en led "UIDAI has lost control of its Ecosystem and Virtual ID Falls too short of the Problem" on . The proof against Aadhar is beyond doubt.
    1. Neeraj Sharma
      Jan 11, 2018 at 10:27 pm
      Citibank is asking me to give an authorisation that Aadhar number which I feed in their system can be used to get information from uiadi and the information can be used by Citibank or any of their Associates If Aadhar is to be used in this manner then it's surely is going to come under fire
      1. Norbert Mascarenhas
        Jan 11, 2018 at 5:21 pm
        As long as Nilekani merely propounded on security features of the AADHAR data he was ok. But he has no business to say that it's an "orchestrated campaign" as he hasn't gone through the pain of having to be denied basic en lements due to non-availability of an AADHAR ID simply because system designed by him failed to capture biometrics specially of the very old and the manual laborers. I know this for a fact because for the last 3 months I have been running from pillar to post to have my 90 year old mother's demographics updated but her system is unable to read her biometrics. I believe Nilekani's own private information is still online. Please read the following article "The Guy Who Helped Create India’s Controversial National ID Program Leaked His Own Data, And It’s Still Online". Plus Nilekani also believes in the local IT companies (read Infosys) harnessing the benefits of data colonization. So more than the "orchestrated campaign" Nilekani's views are personally motivated.
        1. Samar Pahari
          Jan 11, 2018 at 4:40 pm
          Aadhar by itself ,as a technology platform can not be faulted. If a person like Nilakeni is saying that there are multiple layers of security embedded in the system to ensure safety of data we should accept that and rest assured.But what really has become an irritant for common people is the way it has been made compulsory for so many things. The most outrageous thing was heard when Railway bureaucracy announced aadhar will be necessary for purchase of rly tickets in reserved trains!So far bureaucracy has had a free run with Aadhar. There should be review of Aadhar as Administrative tool at the political level and it's possible roll back from certain areas like purchase of LIC policies etc where people invest their own money because such transactions could easily tagged to a person by identifying the bank account through which such transactions are made.It is good that UIDAI has now up with Virtual iden y. But why not introduce OTP feature as well?
          1. blackpower 666
            Jan 11, 2018 at 4:09 pm
            Arrest UIDAI, Says Edward Snowden After Aadhaar Case Against Journalist s: ndtv /india-news/arrest-uidai-says-edward-snowden-after-aadhaar-case-against-journalist-1797737?type news id 1797737 category india-news
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