The Indian government has been pushing for linking internet users’ unique identification numbers with social benefit schemes and financial transactions tracking mechanism. However, there have been major concerns about privacy breaches as the unique identification system captures biometrics as well as personal details.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — The nodal authority for the maintenance and regulation of the unique identity number of Indian citizens called Aadhar has revealed that the details of the enrolled members in the identity system were leaked to the public by more than 200 government agencies in the country.
The revelation has come as a major embarrassment to the ruling dispensation which has been pushing for the mandatory enrolment of citizens to the Aadhar system and linking of those numbers with social welfare schemes despite the concerns over breach of privacy.
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The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is a regulatory body for the Aadhar implementation has admitted that 210 government websites made Aadhaar details public. The revelation was made by UIDAI in reply to the application filed under the Right to Information (RTI).
According to the RTI reply, the websites publicly displayed name, address and other details of Aadhaar beneficiaries, which was removed when the breach was identified and brought to the notice of the concerned department. UIDAI did not spell out or specify the time and duration of the breach of the beneficiary details in the public domain. The authority however clarified that no breach has occurred from the UIDAI on its behalf.
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Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number and it acts as a proof of identity and addresses anywhere in the country. It was conceptualized by the former Manmohan Singh led Congress government but after the Narendra Modi led BJP government came to power, it began aggressively pushing the identification number to be linked with social benefits, banks accounts, permanent account numbers, mobile phone connections, among other things, raising concerns over the privacy and security of the citizens.
However, in a landmark judgment two months ago, the country’s apex court ruled that privacy was a fundamental right of citizens which has considerably weakened the government’s stand on making Aadhar mandatory.