Hacking of TRAI chief’s Aadhaar details not a serious matter: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi, Aug 3 : When MPs from different political parties  questioned government about the leaked Aadhaar details of TRAI chief, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gave a one line reply that the  details of people, who are in public domain, can be hacked easily and it’s not a serious matter”  .

When senior Congress leader Anand Sharma questioned the minister about TRAI Chairman RS Sharma’s “dare” who last week had made his Aadhaar number public and asked “Since minister  has asserted that Aadhaar is secure and foolproof . TRAI chairman made public his Aadhaar card, his  details were hacked immediately and money was deposited into his account , the minister must make it secure.”

The Minister said, “The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has publicly  advised Aadhaar card holders to refrain from publicly sharing their Aadhaar numbers on social media and throwing challenges to others.”

Outrightly denying any Government’s inability to secure the Aadhaar card details, the minister  made a very wrong and irresponsible statement, saying, ” Hacking of a public figure like you (Anand Sharma) is no a serious matter and in a digital world, everyone is available online.”

Anand Sharma said the government should implement safety measures  so that the fears of Indian citizens on privacy concerns can be addressed .

 

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.

Personal details of India’s 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.Sharma has been stressing 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.

The Minister asserted, “TRAI has already issued a statement. The core biometrics, fingerprints and iris were never breached.”

Raising the issue of Aadhaar details being breached in the Rajya Sabha,CPI leader Binoy Viswom said Aadhaar has become Niraadhaar and asked, ” What is the government’s stand on Srikrishna Committee report on data privacy?”

Ravi Shankar Prasad replied to questions stating that biometrics is the core critical component of Aadhaar. ‘There is a parliamentary law to back the law. Even billion attempts won’t be able to break it. ‘

Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification system, has become the focal point of debate on right of privacy, threats to data security and citizens’ rights to privacy go far beyond it.

Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the government has given Aadhaar to Aadhaar by enacting a law. The Committee report is only a draft, the government will consider it once it’s officially submitted, he adds.

Elliot Alderson, a French security expert, who 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.

 

 

The Narendra Modi government is now using the biometric-backed unique identity Aadhaar project for scrutanising the comman man by making it mandatory for filing income tax returns, purchasing new mobile phone connections and accessing mid-day meals in schools, among other things .

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