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Not a single case of data breach, Aadhaar fully safe: Government

Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister  Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that the Aadhaar data was fully safe and secure.

Not a single case of data breach, Aadhaar fully safe: Government

New Delhi: There has not been a single case of data breach from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) database, the government said on Friday, claiming that a recent report about Aadhaar data being sold was "completely false".

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that the Aadhaar data was fully safe and secure.

To a question by Neeraj Shekhar of Samajwadi Party on the issue, he claimed that a media report saying that Aadhaar data was available to anyone for a sum of Rs 500 was a case of "misreporting and completely false".

"UIDAI, for the purpose of grievance handling, has provided a search facility to state government officials, which provide demographic information of the person whose enrolment ID or Aadhaar is provided. The reported case was a misuse of the said facility," Prasad said.

The minister said the UIDAI had filed a complaint on January 4 with full details of the incident, on which an FIR was registered by the Crime Branch in the cyber cell of Delhi Police against unknown persons under several sections of the Aadhaar Act and the IT Act.

A media report had earlier claimed that Aadhaar details of thousands of people could be accessed by paying Rs 500 to a private person. 

However, Aadhaar issuing body Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has time and again said that architecture of the Aadhaar ecosystem has been designed to ensure data security and privacy.

An investigation into the Aadhaar security loophole by the Tribune indicated that details of the 12-digit unique identification number are easily accessible.

The paper said that its reporter purchased a service by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp. The reporter paid Rs 500 via Paytm to an agent. Within 10 minutes the agent gave a login ID and password, thus giving unrestricted access to details of over 1 billion Aadhaar numbers.

Through the login gateway, one can enter any particular Aadhaar number in the portal and access all details like name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email of the individual

What is even more shocking is that by paying another Rs 300, the agent provided him the “software” that could facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card, the paper said.

The UIDAI, however, denied the media reports and said that it is a case of misreporting.

The Supreme Court is also hearing a batch of petitions challenging the government's decision on Aadhaar.

The apex court has indicated that it may consider setting up of a Constitution Bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.

The government has, meanwhile, extended deadline fixed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes till March 31.

(With PTI inputs)