The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Friday clarified that it had not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or telecom operator to add its helpline numbers to people’s contact list.
The clarification from the Aadhaar body came after several reports revealed that a UIDAI helpline number was found added to people’s contact list without their knowledge.
“In the wake of some media reports on default inclusion of UIDAI’s outdated & invalid Toll free no. 1800-300-1947 in contact list of Android phones. It is clarified that UIDAI has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever,” the UIDAI said in a press statement released on Twitter.
It is emphasised that the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI Toll free number and some vested interest are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public. 3/n— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) August 3, 2018
Blaming the “vested interest” of trying to create confusion in the public, the Aadhaar body emphasised that the helpline number added to people’s contact list was not a valid UIDAI toll-free number.
“It is emphasised that the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI Toll-free number and some vested interest are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public,” the UIDAI tweeted.
Several people who found the helpline number added to their phone's contact list expressed fears about the safety of their personal data and demanded the government to act in accordance to preserve the privacy of netizens.
“I am using an Android phone. I was searching for a contact number and found UIDAI helpline number in my contact list. I never added that number. Neither had I given such permission to any application. This is alarming. I hope government looks after this,” said Subhayan Chakraborty, who works in a private company in Noida.
Another netizen Aseem Sharma, who works as a video producer said that after TRAI chief's challenge and his data being leaked online, " I have capped my internet use. I do fear my data with Aadhaar is not safe. If a helpline number can be added to my phone without my knowledge, the information can also be leaked from my mobile phone."
A French security expert, with Twitter handle @fs0c131y and nickname Elliot Alderson, who had previously leaked TRAI Chief RS Sharma’s details and exposed Aadhaar vulnerabilities claimed that everything was hackable and UIDAI was a very easy target for hackers.
Responding to Aadhaar body’s blame that “vested interest” were behind this, Alderson tweeted,” Do you think I can add "vested interested" in my bio?"
Do you think I can add « vested interested » in my bio? https://t.co/diR121cHyu— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) August 3, 2018