The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Sunday said that information about Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma after he published his Aadhaar number on Twitter Saturday, was not fetched from Aadhaar database or UIDAI’s servers. Along with publishing the 12-digit number, Sharma also posed a challenge to Twitter users to show how the knowledge of the number can be misused to harm him.
“UIDAI emphatically stated that any information published on Twitter about the said individual Shri RS Sharma was not fetched from Aadhaar database or UIDAI’s servers. In fact, this so–called “hacked” information was already available in the public domain as he being a public servant for decades,” an official statement said.
On Saturday, following a challenge posed by a Twitter user asking him to publicise his Aadhaar number if he trusted the system, Sharma posted his 12-digit Aadhaar number on the micro-blogging website. Following this, several users on Twitter began publishing his personal information such as mobile number, e-mail ID, date of birth, PAN card number, bank account details, residential address, etc. “This so-called claim…is a farce and people should not believe such fraudulent elements active on social and other media. Aadhaar database is fully safe and secure and no such information about Mr Sharma has been fetched from UIDAI’s severs or Aadhaar database,” the statement added.
Attempting to defend its systems and processes, UIDAI said that personal data can be picked from different sources without Aadhaar and profile can be made using various search engines. One could have just Googled his (Sharma’s) name (without Aadhaar number), visited a few other websites and got most of the details which are being shown on Twitter,” UIDAI said. “It is a challenge of emerging digital world and personal data protection which have been sought to be addressed in the recommendations submitted by the Justice Srikrishna Committee,” it added.
Notably, the Srikrishna Committee, of which current UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey was a member, noted in its recommendations that the Aadhaar Act was silent on the powers of the UIDAI to take enforcement action against companies using Aadhaar numbers for unauthorised purposes and those leaking Aadhaar numbers.