Following Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman R S Sharma throwing up his Aadhaar challenge on Twitter, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked people to refrain from doing such a thing because this is not in accordance with the law.
This is because the unique number has personally sensitive information like bank account details, the passport number, and the permanent account number.
The UIDAI said according to the Aadhaar Act, 2016, IT (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, and Justice Srikrishna’s proposed Data Protection Bill, personally sensitive information should not be published or shared publicly. The Authority reiterated the Aadhaar number should be shared only if there was a need to do so for establishing identity and for legitimate transactions.
The controversy surrounding Aadhaar started when Sharma threw a Twitter challenge on the safety of Aadhaar.
Some users have claimed to have deposited Rs 1 in Sharma’s bank account, but the Trai chairman has said no such thing has happened.
Some users have also apparently booked a phone using Sharma’s Aadhaar number on online portals and gave the Trai chairman’s address for delivery. However, the UIDAI has warned all such people because this is a criminal offence.
“…doing Aadhaar authentication through somebody else’s Aadhaar number or using someone else’s Aadhaar number for any purpose may amount to impersonation and thereby a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act and Indian Penal Code. Any person indulging in such acts or abetting or inciting others to do so makes themselves liable for prosecution and penal action under the law,” the UIDAI added.
“Such activities (publicly sharing Aadhaar) are uncalled for and should be refrained as these are not in accordance with the law. Aadhaar is a unique identity which can be authenticated to prove one’s identity for various services, benefits and subsidies,” the Authority said in a statement. Sharma’s challenge was to vouch for the safety of Aadhaar. Almost immediately, Twitter users sent out a barrage of replies disclosing Sharma’s personal details including his mobile number, bank account details and address. However, the UIDAI the next day denied the details were taken from the servers of Aadhaar. To express support for Sharma, various Twitter users have also shared their Aadhaar numbers on Twitter, challenging the safety of the unique number.
The matter was even raised in Parliament on Tuesday with Congress leader K C Venugopal terming Sharma’s Aadhaar challenge on Twitter bizarre. “Hackers are claiming to have accessed his (Sharma) private information. This has caused serious concerns and apprehensions among people about safety and security of their personal information and privacy,” he said.