Union Minister of State for Information Technology and Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Sunday hit out at critics of Aadhaar and said its data has never been breached and that it is completely secure. “When the Government of India asked for simplest things, you have a huge problem of privacy issue. What is so private about digital data, biometric information and your iris? What is given in Aadhaar is simply your name and address. The government has given permission for certain departments to access information in Aadhaar because they are the agencies which make the card and they make modifications,” he told reporters.
This came two days after the Union minister, while speaking at a digital summit in Kochi, said the people who complain about breach of privacy in India have no problem in giving fingerprint details and “getting naked before the white man” for US visas.
“We have absolutely no problems going and putting our fingerprints and the iris and getting naked before the white man at all. We have no problem. But when the Government of India, which is your government, asks you your name and your address, nothing more, there is a massive revolution in the country, saying it is an intrusion into the privacy of the individual. I mean, how far can we go? Let the Supreme Court decide,” Alphons said.
He said he had to fill up 10 pages to apply for a US visa and the questions ranged from where his grandfather was born, to where he went on honeymoon. “Ten pages of data which you have never even confessed to your wife or husband ever, that is passed on to the white man. We have no problem,” he said.
He claimed that not one case pertaining to breach of Aadhaar data has come up in the past three-and-half years. “Not one case has come up in the past three-and-a-half years when the biometric data of any Aadhaar holder has been leaked in India. The Government of India has protected the data and this has been possible because we use the latest technologies and we constantly upgrade it,” he said.
He also dismissed reports that Aadhaar data has been hacked. “Take your telephone directory. You have the name of the person, his address and phone number. What other information is collected for Aadhaar data,” he said.