A day after some people claimed to have accessed personal details of Trai Chairman R S Sharma after he disclosed his Aadhaar number on Twitter, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has denied that the details were fetched from its servers or Aadhaar database.
UIDAI, which issues and stores Aadhaar numbers, said the so-called “hacked” information (about Sharma’s personal details such as his address, date of birth, mobile number, email, etc) was already available in public domain as he being a public servant for decades and was easily available on Google and various other sites by a simple search without Aadhaar number.
“Any information published on Twitter about the said individual RS Sharma was not fetched from Aadhaar database or UIDAI’s servers,” the Authority said in a statement.
An all-out war was erupted on Twitter on Saturday after Sharma, the chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), disclosed his Aadhaar number and challenged everyone if any kind of harm can be done to him by having knowledge of his Aadhaar number. Soon after, a deluge of tweets emerged wherein people put up his personal details on the micro-blogging site, claiming to have been derived from his Aadhaar number. Sharma, who continued to engage with various Twitter users, however, dismissed the information being revealed as public information. “…Yeh details koi state scret nahin hain (These details are no state secret),” Sharma said in reply. In another tweet, Sharma said, “No I did not challenge them for phone number and other info. I challenged them for causing me harm! So far no success. Wish them luck,” Sharma wrote on Twitter on Saturday after users started putting out his mobile number, address etc on the micro-blogging site.
Regarding the claims of accessing personal information of Sharma using his Aadhaar number, UIDAI said, “Such malicious attempts by few individuals to malign Aadhaar, which has built the digital trust and these devious elements are trying to spread misinformation. The Aadhaar database is totally safe and has proven its security robustness over last eight years.”
UIDAI further said the hackers boasted that they had got Sharma’s personal details by hacking Aadhaar database, which was a farce and people should not believe such fraudulent elements active on social and other media. “This is merely cheap publicity by these unscrupulous elements who try to attract attention by creating such fake news,” the Authority added.
It said that factually anyone can google or visit other sources and find out Sharma’s personal details without Aadhaar. For example, Sharma’s mobile number is available on NIC website as he was once Secretary IT, Government of India. His date of birth is available in the Civil List of IAS Officers which is kept in public domain and his address is on Trai website because he is its Chairman.
The Authority said it is a challenge of emerging digital world and personal data protection which have been sought to be addressed in the recommendations submitted by the Justice Srikrishna Committee.