UIDAI probing reported Aadhaar data breach, but denies information leak

Edward Snowden Hints India’s Aadhaar Open for Abuse

With the linking of Aadhaar to virtually all services from banking to mobile telephony, your 12-digit unique ID number is now of high value, making it a prime target for hackers.

The Tribune report, widely shared on social media, claimed that it took just Rs 500 and 10 minutes for the newspaper to get access through an "agent" to every detail of any individual submitted to the UIDAI including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

The report added that payment of a further 300 rupees provided "software" that allowed them to print out any Aadhaar card for which they had the number.

However, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which runs the Aadhar system, said that the newspaper had accessed only limited details through a search function that was only made available to government officials. A form provided by the UIDAI for this goal has to be downloaded, printed and duly filled, and sent via an India Post mail to the UIDAI along with self-attested copies of required documents, according to the Aadhaar card issuing authority. "Except the Director-General and I, no third person in Punjab should have a login access to our official portal", said Sanjay Jindal, Additional Director-General of UIDAI's Regional Centre in a statement.

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, UIDAI said it has given search facility for the goal of grievance redressal to the designated personnel and state government officials to help residents only by entering their Aadhaar number / EID.

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Over one lakh VLEs are now suspected of gaining illegal access to Aadhaar data to provide the service to people for a fee.

This investigation has managed to uncover a major data breach and an operation that has been running for at least six months.

Weighing in on reports of alleged breach in security for Aadhaar database in India, and government surveillance of its citizens globally, United States whistle-blower and former Central Intelligence Agency employee Edward Snowden called it a "natural tendency" of governments to 'desire flawless records of private lives'. The body has taken the matter into cognizance and looking into it seriously.

Want to change the address given on your Aadhaar card? Using this mode, you can "only update your address in Aadhaar", the UIDAI said on microblogging site Twitter.

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