NEW DELHI: The ongoing war between TRAI chairman RS Sharma and Aadhaar critics on Sunday saw the participation of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
UIDAI, which is at the focal point of the privacy debate, said that Sharma’s personal data made public on Twitter on Saturday was not fetched from the Aadhaar database or UIDAI’s server.
READ FULL STORY HERE: TRAI chief's personal details leaked after he shares Aadhaar number in challenge to hackers
“In fact, this so–called “hacked” information (about Sharma’s personal details such as his address, date of birth, photo, mobile number, e-mail, etc.) was already available in public domain as he had been a public servant for decades and was easily available on Google and various other sites by a simple search without Aadhaar number,” said UIDAI .
It added that claims made by ‘unscrupulous elements’ that Aadhaar database can be breached and one’s privacy harmed were just for cheap publicity.
"Sharma's mobile number is available on National Informatics Centre's (NIC) website as he was once Secretary IT. His date of birth is available in the Civil List of IAS Officers which is kept in public domain and his address is on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) website because he is the Chairman. They clubbed all these inputs and claimed to have breached the Aadhaar database. Aadhaar database is fully safe and secure and no such information about Mr Sharma has been fetched from UIDAI's servers or Aadhaar database," a statement added.
The statement further read, "It is strictly not the issue about Aadhaar. 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."
Sharma, a defender of Aadhaar and the former director general of UIDAI, on Saturday, created a flutter on Twitter by revealing his 12-digit Aadhaar number and issued a challenge to show how mere knowledge of the number could be misused.
Sharma had tweeted: "Now I give this challenge to you: Show me one concrete example where you can do any harm to me!". The challenge by Sharma had got 577 retweets, and 745 likes by late evening.
Hours later, French security expert, who goes by the nickname Elliot Anderson, made Sharma’s personal information public on Twitter and claimed that the information was fetched from Aadhaar database/UIDAI server. Post the leaks, a large section of Twitterati were seen trolling Sharma for believing that the 12 digit number cannot be used to infiltrate one’s privacy.
When contacted by TNIE, Sharma said, “Let the challenge run for some time”.On the revelation of Sharma’s PAN by the French hacker, which critics believes is the tie-breaker to support their argument, UIDAI reiterated that people usually give PAN or mobile number at many places.
(with input from agencies)