WikiLeaks hints at Aadhar data access by CIA

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WikiLeaks has hinted at the theft of Aadhar data after it claimed on Thursday that the CIA was using tools devised by US-based technology provider Cross Match Technologies for cyber spying.

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Cross Match technologies also provides biometric solutions to the Unique Identification Authority of India, the statutory body for Aadhaar.

In its report, the WikiLeaks said, “The OTS (Office of Technical Services), a branch within the CIA, has a biometric collection system that is provided to liaison services around the world — with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems. But this ‘voluntary sharing’ obviously does not work or is considered insufficient by the CIA, because ExpressLane is a covert information collection tool that is used by the CIA to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services.”

It then went on to add that ‘the core components of the OTS system are based on products from Cross Match, a US company specializing in biometric software for law enforcement and the Intelligence Community.’

In its series of tweets, WikiLeaks asked, “Have CIA spies already stolen #India’s national ID card database?” Its tweet also had a linkto an article on Cross Match’s Indian operations with its partner Smart Identity Devices Pvt Ltd. The company has enrolled 1.2 million Indian citizens on the Aadhaar database.

Times of India reported that the government sources had denied the claims made by WikiLeaks.

The latest revelation will send shivers across India as the debate over the safety of Aadhar rages on. The Supreme Court on Thursday had ruled that the right to privacy was a fundamental right of every citizen. The apex court is now likely to hear the matter on whether privacy argument linked to Aadhar was justifiable.

Those fighting against the Centre’s Narendra Modi’s government’s decision to make Aadhar mandatory for both financial transaction and availing government benefits will, no doubt, use the WikiLeaks’ revelation to support their argument.

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