Ever since the Aadhaar card was introduced in India, there is no end to controversies. The main issue connected with Aadhaar is its security and the possibility of violation of Right to Privacy. The social activists and political parties of India have also been raising these. Despite the claim of full proof security of UIDAI, Aadhaar data’s security is breached. Aadhaar data of 7.8 crore people are stolen. A private company IT Grids (India) has illegally obtained Aadhaar data of 7.8 crore voters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. UIDAI has itself lodged an FIR with the Cyberabad police in this regard. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the issuing and managing agency of the Aadhaar Card.
It is learned that Hyderabad based IT company IT Grids (India) was using these data to broaden Telugu Desam Party’s Seva Mitra mobile app. TDP is ruling party in Andhra Pradesh. On the other hand, CM of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu has denied the allegations and said that the app is meant for only verifying beneficiaries of government’s welfare schemes. He accused TRS and BJP of conspiring to help YSR Congress in elections.
Ananda Howal, President of Indian Social Movement said, “There has been an attempt to hack digital information and other important documents relating to the people not only in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but in other states by ruling and other political parties. The data can be misused by foreign countries too. This problem is not restricted to Andhra and Telangana but the entire nation would be affected by it.”
According to Telangana Police, investigations so far revealed that the IT Company was in possession of sensitive data. In addition to this, the profiles of voters are also stolen. These could be used during ongoing Lok Sabha elections. On March 7 this year, TPD had lodged a complaint about this in Andhra Pradesh. Now, both the cases are handed over to SIT of Telangana.
Vinod Kumar Boinapally, Telangana Rashtra Samiti MP alleged, “The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is going to lose in Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. That is why he is making an allegation of conspiracy on TRS. We have performed well in recently held Telangana Assembly elections, while their situation is critical. Therefore, they are adopting every maneuvering.”
Earlier, WikiLeaks had reported that the CIA may have access to Aadhaar data. According to WikiLeaks, the United States’ top intelligence agency, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using tools devised by US-based technology provider Cross Match Technologies for cyber spying that may have comprised Aadhaar data. Cross Match Technologies, a provider of biometric identity solutions received certification from the UIDAI) in 2011. It was one of the first suppliers of biometric devices for Aadhaar data collection.
Keeping in the view of risks of security of Aadhaar number, last year the Supreme Court of India in its historic verdict ruled that it is not mandatory to link Aadhaar Card with existing bank accounts or to open new ones. The Supreme Court also said that Aadhaar should be mandatory for welfare schemes of government and not for services like bank accounts, school admissions, mobile connections or any examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE), National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission (UGC).
In spite of so much debate on the security of Aadhaar data, the UIDAI assurances, and the Supreme Court’s directions, data theft of such huge number came to light. The anxious citizens of the country want the government of India and UIDAI to address the concerns as early as possible.