Technology giant Google on Friday night apologised for “inadvertently” installing an outdated UIDAI (Aadhaar) toll-free number and 112 distress helpline number in the Android phones of certain users without their consent.
“Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the setup wizard of the Android release given to OEMs (Original equipment manufacturers) for use in India and has remained there since.
“Since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement released on Friday night.
The tech giant said “sorry” to people for the same and assured them of fixing the issue in the upcoming release of Set Up wizard. It also said that users can manually delete these numbers from their contact lists.
“We are sorry for any concern that this might have caused, and would like to assure everyone that this is not a situation of an unauthorised access of their Android devices. Users can manually delete the number from their devices,” the statement added.
The apology from the tech giant came after public outrage for loading an old UIDAI helpline number in Android phones of several users. Initially, people questioned the Aadhaar body for this, but later UIDAI came out with a clarification and blamed “vested interest” for trying to create confusion in the public.
Telecom operators’ body COAI too said that none of its members had pre-loaded any unknown numbers on any mobile phone.
(With inputs from agencies)