Indians are angry that despite the mounting proof that their biometric and personal data linked to Aadhaar is not safe, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is refusing to acknowledge the truth, and fixing the problem. Instead, the UIDAI is busy going after parody accounts on Twitter, and understandably, people aren’t happy that the Authority has their priorities mixed up.
On Sunday, the official handle of Aadhaar warned its ‘Twitter audience’ about a fake profile of UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey.
“The only official profile of Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO - UIDAI is @ceo_uidai. We would also be taking official action against the people who have created this fake profile to mislead people,” the UIDAI handle tweeted.
Twitter audience is warned about this fake profile. The only official profile of Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO - UIDAI is @ceo_uidai . We would also be taking official action against the people who have created this fake profile to mislead people. pic.twitter.com/rZycL41ESh— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) January 7, 2018
However, the handle that UIDAI flagged in order to ensure that people are not ‘mislead’, doesn’t claim to be the original. The handle @ceouidai, in its ‘About’ section, clearly states, “This is the UNOFFICIAL Twitter handle of the CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India. Current serving CEO – Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey #Parody Account.”
Twitter users lost it.
The account clearly states ‘unofficial’ and ‘parody’. Can you not read? You are the one misleading people by spreading fake information. Who will take action against you?— Is Mir Egal (@coolredwine) January 7, 2018
Unofficial? Parody? Understand English? File a FIR against this parody guy, thats the only thing u guys can do, it seems. Sigh..!— Wasim Ansari (@Itsak26) January 7, 2018
You cannot take action coz they have mentioned clearly they are parody account.— #வஞ்சினம்உரைத்தல் (@int_tam) January 7, 2018
To all of this, the person handling the Aadhaar account had only one response. A screenshot of Twitter’s requirements for parody, newsfeed, commentary, and fan accounts.
“The account name (note: this is separate from the username, or @handle) should not be the exact name as the subject of the account without some other distinguishing word, such as "not," "fake," or "fan," and be done so in a way that would be understood by the intended audience,” is the section that the UIDAI handle repeatedly highlights to users responding to their original tweet.
However, this too doesn’t justify flagging the @ceouidai, as the name of the account was Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey. The account name of the original account, @ceo_uidai, was simply CEO UIDAI.
Twitter caught on quickly, with many users also taking jibes at UIDAI for their lack of security measures.
And? Parody account name is different. Original account is CEO UIDAI, parody has a name. I don’t see your point.— Is Mir Egal (@coolredwine) January 7, 2018
Parody accounts are allowed according to twitter TOS if they mention that they are a parody account which in this case they cleary did.— శరత్ చంద్ర (@iamd3vil) January 7, 2018
Do focus on job. People on Twitter are smart enough to distinguish between a parody and official account with a blue tick.— GAJEN CHOUDHARY (@ANWGAJENDRA) January 7, 2018
The account is within twitter policy since it has already announced that it's parody account. Your time would be wisely spent if you focus on real issues of privacy, accountability and addressing grievances. If you are incompetent to do it then resign and let someone else do it.— Jatin D. (@jatind3) January 7, 2018
You are worried about your name being misused. Why should not we be worried about our personal info being misused???— Balgit Sharma (@BalgitSharma) January 7, 2018
In a story by the Tribune, the reporter Rachna Khaira stated that she paid Rs 500 through Paytm, and in 10 minutes "an 'agent' of the group running the racket created a 'gateway' for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. You could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI.