Since its introduction, the Indian government has been pushing to connect Aadhar to people’s day to day lives in a big way – whether it is for obtaining LPG connections or passports. However, with the recent spate of leaks where personal data of hundreds of people, collected by Aadhar, has been posted online, one wonders whether the government is equipped to safeguard this information.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the website for Swachcha Bharat Mission, which comes under of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, is the most recent government department to have compromised sensitive data about citizens.
While these details were taken down from the website within a few hours by Monday evening, there is no guarantee that they were not picked up by people who could misuse them.
According to Nikhil Pahwa’s report in Medianama, there have already been 14 leaks of Aadhaar data so far. People have been asking some difficult questions about accountability and security on Twitter, and the fact that they do not have clear answers paints a grim picture considering what’s at stake. There is also uncertainty regarding what more could get linked to Aadhaar, and stand to be compromised.
finger prints-->>authentication failures-->>gum based scanners-->>collapse of biometrics-->>SC hearings ------->>ABSURDITY.#AadhaarFail— uday (@udaytwitt55) April 25, 2017
SM addicted? Imagine a password that could work or not work. You get access or maybe not. Or your account gets deleted. #AadhaarFail— Vidyut (@Vidyut) April 25, 2017
UIDAI CeO tells me: Whosoever is supposed to audit us is auditing us. But the names can’t be disclosed due to security reasons. https://t.co/Nw1OPLu8tM— Aman Sethi (@Amannama) April 25, 2017
Everything in Aadhaar DB except biometrics is leaked. Biometrics+data is leaking via e-KYC KuAs & sub agencies unencrypted. #AadhaarFail— Anivar Aravind (@anivar) April 25, 2017
Many people also picked on the recent suggestion to have a unique ID for cows in the country.
This comes shortly after Chandigarh’s Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department shared Unique Identification (UID) numbers of many people on its website. Other leaks have happened via Kerala's pension department and Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security. The latter had leaked Aadhaar details of one million Indians.
Cricketer MS Dhoni’s Aadhaar details had also been tweeted by the Twitter handle of CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd.
It should be noted that while leaking personal details such as those in the Aadhar card is illegal. According to Section 29 (4) of the Aadhaar Act, “No Aadhaar number or core biometric information collected or created under this Act in respect of an Aadhaar number holder shall be published, displayed or posted publicly, except for the purposes as may be specified by regulations.”