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UIDAI says rumour mongers are using Google's 'inadvertent' act against Aadhaar

UIDAI says rumour mongers are using Google's 'inadvertent' act against Aadhaar

Last week, a French security expert who goes under the pseudonym Elliot Alderson in a tweet had raised alarm on presence of a UIDAI helpline number in contact list of mobile phone users without their consent.

Photo: PTI Photo: PTI

The UIDAI on Sunday said that the Aadhaar helpline number cannot steal data from users' phone devices. The statement came days after certain mobile phone users found and objected to UIDAI's helpline number in their contact list without their consent - suggesting possible breach of privacy. Google later admitted that the mapping of Aadhaar helpline number had happened 'inadvertently'.  

The UIDAI yesterday said that rumour mongers attempted to tarnish the image of Aadhaar for a Google's inadvertent act. "UIDAI condemns the vested interests who tried to misuse Google's "inadvertent" act as an opportunity to spread rumours and go around fear-mongering against Aadhaar," the authority said in a statement.

Last week, a French security expert who goes under the pseudonym Elliot Alderson in a tweet had raised alarm on presence of a UIDAI contact number in contact list of mobile phone users without their consent. His tweet scared many mobile phone users who found UIDAI's old helpline number in their contacts even though they did not add it.

Assuaging the fears of the people, the UIDAI said: "Just by a helpline number in a mobile's contact list the data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen. Therefore, there should be no panic to delete the number as no harm will be caused. Rather people may, if they so wish, update it with UIDAI's new helpline number 1947."

Anderson in his another tweet had also said that there was no need to freak out as it was just a contact but alarmed that it could be the tip of "an iceberg". Responding to this, the UIDAI said that rumours being spread on social media to delete helpline number are "totally false propaganda and is nothing but scare-mongering against Aadhaar by vested interests trying to exploit Google's act to spread misinformation about Aadhaar by scaring people."

The authority further said that it expects that Google will look into the matter which caused confusion in the minds of people against "India's credible identity system and will exercise due care so that such things are not repeated in future."

The UIDAI said that rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless and are rejected with all condemnation that it deserves. "UIDAI assures that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure. Therefore, people should stay away from such rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests. They should also not waste their time and time of their near and dear ones by forwarding or circulating such false and baseless rumours on their WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook," the statement said.

Soon after the controversy began, the UIDAI had clarified that it had not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever. It said: "UIDAI emphasised that the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI Toll free number and some vested interest are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public. UIDAI's valid Toll free number is 1947 which is functional for more than the last  two years."

(With inputs from PTI)