UIDAI says it didn't do it. Cellular Operators Association of India which represents Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Jio has said it didn't do it. TRAI officials say they didn't instruct this. Even Google doesn't know how it got there. So, who's done it? There's no explanation yet to the mysterious presence of UIDAI contact number 1800-300-1947 in the contact list of many phones in India registered as UIDAI.
UIDAI has suspiciously found its way to the contact lists of numerous Android and iOS users. Twitter was abuzz with many users claiming to have 'UIDAI' in their contact list and none of them remember saving it themselves.
Suprisingly, the toll-free number 1800-300-1947 registered under this contact isn't even valid any more. Instead UIDAI customer care number is 1947. UIDAI released a series of tweets in the light of this development. They clearly state that their toll-free number (1947) has been the same for the past two years.
"Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) today in the wake of some media reports on default inclusion of the UIDAI's outdated and invalid Toll free number 1800-300-1947 in contact list of Android phones said that UIDAI has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever," says UIDAI in a statement.
The government body claims that they have no information about contacts popping up like this and that this is being done to create chaos. The statement reads, "It is 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."
"The inclusion of a certain unknown number in the phonebooks of various mobile handsets is not from any telecom service provider. @airtelindia @vodafoneIN, @RJio @ideacelluar," says COAI in a tweet.
Apart from storing the number yourself, there are certain ways a phone number can be stored automatically on your phone. The applications you download ask permission to access your contacts. There's no certainty if in this particular instance an app is to be blamed.
UIDAI has made it clear that they haven't asked any network providers or smartphone manufacturers to include the number in the contact list. The statement reads, "UIDAI has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever."
Last month, UIDAI had issued an advisory, asking people to refrain from posting their Aadhaar numbers on the internet or social media sites, and posing challenges to others. Indiscriminate and unwanted publication of any personally sensitive information, whether Aadhaar or any other, may render the person concerned vulnerable and, therefore, should be avoided, cautioned UIDAI. The UIDAI advisory was made two days after TRAI Chairman RS Sharma ignited controversy for posting his Aadhaar number on Twitter as a challenge.