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Aadhaar details leaked after TRAI chief throws breach challenge

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RS Sharma

TRAI Chairman RS Sharma addresses during a MCCI Chamber programme on Telecom Revolution in Kolkata, on Dec 3, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Alleged personal details of Indias telecom watchdog chief R.S. Sharma were leaked on Saturday after the TRAI chairman threw a challenge and tweeted his 12-digit Aadhaar asking if it had made him vulnerable to any security risk.

A French security expert, who goes by the nickname Elliot Alderson and uses twitter handle @fs0c131y, in a series of tweets caused ripples on the social media, leaking “personal address, DoB, your alternate phone number” and explaining to Sharma, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman, how risky it was to make the Aadhaar number public.

“People managed to get your personal address, DoB and your alternate phone number. I stop here, I hope you will understand why make your Aadhaar number public is not a good idea,” Alderson wrote.

Sharma, a known defender of Aadhaar, has been maintaining that the unique ID does not violate privacy and the government reserved a right to create such a database of residents since it gives subsidies on state-run welfare schemes.

Amid a debate on privacy concerns, which has also reached the Supreme Court, activists and people in general fear that the 12-digit biometric number was harmful to citizen’s privacy.

“My Aadhaar number is 7621 7768 2740. Now I give this challenge to you: Show me one concrete example where you can do any harm to me,” tweeted Sharma, whose tenure ends on August 9.

A twitter user had earlier asked Sharma to “walk your talk” after the TRAI chief tweeted his interview with an online portal in which he strongly defended Aadhaar and rejected apprehensions that one billion Aadhaar accounts were vulnerable.

He said there had not been a single instance of data being breached and had there been one, the entire Aadhaar database would have been vulnerable.

Within hours of tweeting his Aadhaar number, Anderson replied to Sharma: “The phone number linked to this #Aadhaar number is 9958587977.

“According to an official @nicmeity circular, this phone number is the number of your secretary,” Anderson wrote and posted a link to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology circular.

The security researched also posted a picture of Sharma with a portion of it blackened. “I supposed this is your wife or daughter next to you.”

Anderson, who is known to have revealed security loopholes in the Aadhaar data system, also posted screenshots of Sharma’s leaked details with key areas blackened and hidden.

One of the screenshots even carried his PAN details. But that was also hidden.

India

Govt to move six Bills in LS for passage on Monday

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Parliament of India

The central government is slated to move six Bills, including four pertaining to ordinances, for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday. These Bills will be moved soon after the House assembles for the day at 3 pm.

The Bills are related to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Health.

These are the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per the legislative Business of the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah’s name is listed to move the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, for passage.

The FCRA Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday to make earlier law more stringent and make Aadhaar number mandatory for registration and give government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Bill, which seeks amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, for consideration and passage.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year.

She will also move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill provides amendment to the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will move the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 22 this year.

The Minister will also move the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

Harsh Vardhan will later move the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for its passage. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

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SC on Shaheen Bagh: Right to protest must not hamper right to mobility of others

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said Right to Protest of one section has to be in balance with others’ Right to Mobility on a public road, as everyone has the right to move from one place to another and this right cannot be prejudiced by blocking a public road to hold protests.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Krishna Murari and Aniruddha Bose after nearly a gap of seven months took up the pleas against the anti-CAA protesters blocking the public road at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.

At the beginning of the hearing the bench queried the petitioners if they were willing to withdraw the plea. One of the petitioners replied that they were not.

Advocate Amit Sahni, another petitioner in the matter, argued that these kind of incidents should not repeat in future and in the larger public interest a decision must be taken in the matter.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for intervenors, argued before the bench that right to peacefully protest is absolute, and it is the right of the people to protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens as a concept.

Justice Kaul said we are not disputing your right to peacefully protest. Sahni urged the bench to keep this matter pending and an elaborate order may be passed.

Pracha submitted that “some people went to the protest place and then riots happened, and I don’t want to name them”. He added that the number of protesters cannot be shown in bad light by misusing the state machinery.

“It is not that state machinery is absolutely right. Why a person connected with a political party went their and riots happened,” argued Pracha, citing need for a universal policy on right to protest peacefully.

Justice Bose replied that the right to protest needs to be balanced out with the mobility on public road. Justice Kaul said there cannot be a universal policy as situation vary and cited process of debate in the Parliament.

“The place where it becomes problematic, we have to see where it can be balanced out,” noted the bench. Justice Kaul also appreciated the interlocutors, who helped the court in finding a solution to the matter.

The bench noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created another dimension.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, objected to Pracha’s argument. ‘Right to assemble is subjected to reasonable restrictions….We have places like Jantar Mantar, where protest can be held, but blocking of roads cannot be allowed,” said Mehta.

The bench agreed with Centre’s contention that people can’t claim absolute right to hold protest but said that people have right to hold peaceful protests, and this shouldn’t cause inconvenience to general public.

The bench, reserving the order in the matter in the petitions seeking removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh, said that the matter has become infructuous due to supervening circumstance of Covid with protestors vacating the road, but added that it will pass a short order to deal with such situations.

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Mamata fumes at suspension of MPs

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Mamata Banerjee

 West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned the suspension of eight MPs who fought to protect the interests of farmers in Parliament, dubbing the move as “unfortunate”.

Banerjee also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre protesting its “undemocratic norms and principles” of functioning.

“Suspension of the eight MPs who fought to protect farmers’ interests is unfortunate and reflective of this autocratic Government’s mindset that doesn’t respect democratic norms and principles,” Banerjee tweeted.

Eight opposition members, including Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, were suspended from the Rajya Sabha this morning for the rest of the session over unprecedented chaos in the Upper House during the passing of controversial farm bills on Sunday.

Besides O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behaviour especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.

“We won’t bow down and we will fight this fascist Government in Parliament and on the streets,” the Trinamool supremo added in her tweet, accusing the BJP of killing democracy in the country.

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