NEW DELHI: Thousands of smartphone users in India woke up puzzled on Friday with a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) toll-free helpline number saved in their phonebooks by default.
An ‘invalid’ Aadhaar helpline number that gets automatically added under the name UIDAI, short for Unique Identification Authority of India, to the contacts list on smartphones, caused a storm on Twitter, with users of the social media platform demanding an explanation.
UIDAI, which is yet to issue an official statement on this, has replaced the earlier helpline number -- 1800-300-1947 -- with the new number -- 1947, which got into people's phonebooks without their consent.
"This is no joke as it is on my phone too. I didn't save this number. Check your phone asap, feeling worried," a user tweeted with a screenshot.
Hi @UIDAI,— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) August 2, 2018
Many people, with different provider, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default and so without their knowledge. Can you explain why?
A French security expert, Elliot Alderson, asked UIDAI on Twitter: "Many people, with different providers, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default without their knowledge. Can you explain why?"
“This automatically got added to my phone book without my consent/prior intimation. Checked after seeing some updates by others on Twitter. Anyone has answers for this? This is scary. #Aadhaar #UIDAI,” said Siddharth Agarwal.
In another tweet, Varun Perumalla, a stusdent at IIT Hyderabad, said: “Check your phone contacts: You may see an entry for UIDAI with the number 1800-300-1947. This has been pushed mysteriously through the back end? If correct, it means agencies can push anything into your phone without your knowledge. And extract anything.”
Twitter was abuzz again with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma's open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.
READ FULL STORY HERE: TRAI chief's personal details leaked after he shares Aadhaar number in challenge to hackers
The UIDAI said, “Some vested interests are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public.” The authority said the number 1800- 300-1947 was invalid, and the correct helpline number was 1947.
Sharma made a tweetstorm by sharing his 12-digit Aadhaar number on July 28.
Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth (DoB), PAN number and voter ID, among others.
(With IANS inputs)