The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government body that manages Aadhaar, on Sunday made a stunning admission on it being vulnerable to frauds.
Responding to user on the microblogging site Twitter, the UIDAI, admitted that more than one Aadhaar number being linked to one mobile phone was a reality. A user, @PRIYARD had informed how when she went to her mobile provider, she was informed that as many as nine mobile connections had already been linked to her number.
The biggest shock of my life!!!
Went to an Airtel store to get AADHAAR linked to the single mobile number i have been using since 2000.
Was told there are 9 connections already linked to my AADHAAR!
— P R D (@PRIYARD) January 16, 2018
The UIDAI responded to her tweet after the user’s social media post went viral with more than 2,500 shares. Its reply has left many bewildered particularly in light of the central government’s sustained campaign seeking to reassure people that Aadhaar was absolutely safe and vulnerable to hacking.
The UIDAI’s response said, “At least the Aadhaar holder knows how many mobiles are linked to his/her Aadhaar number. In such cases one can complain against the mobile company to TRAI or TERM cell of DOT for fraudulently issuing SIM against their Aadhaar Number.
“The mobile company must provide evidence as to when and how these mobiles were linked to the Aadhaar Number, or face action for fraudulent acts by its employees. In earlier system, there was no way of knowing how many hundred of SIM cards were issued on the basis of identity documents submitted by a person without their knowledge.”
The perplexing response by the UIDAI on Twitter may significantly weaken the central government’s case in the Supreme Court, which is set to hear the case on Aadhaar soon.
On 7 January, the deputy director of the UIDAI had filed an FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter Rachna Khaira for reporting that Aadhaar numbers were up for sale for few hundred rupees.
The UIDAI had denied breach or leak of Aadhaar data following the Tribune report’s claim that it had bought unrestricted access to the details of over one billion Aadhaar numbers — for just Rs 500. In a series of tweets, the authorities had said that it had given search facility for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials to help residents only by entering their 12-digit Aadhaar numbers.