VIJAYAWADA: Ironically, just a day after Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated The Andhra Pradesh Cyber Security Operations Centre (APCSOC), touted to be the first-of-its-kind in the country, a security researcher Kodali Srinivas has exposed how a State government website was leaking the Aadhaar data, bank accounts complete with IFSC code, caste and religion besides geo-location of 1.34 lakh beneficiaries of housing schemes.
Srinivas, who had earlier outed the way the government websites were leaking Aadhaar data of NREGS workers, told TNIE that this time, he had found that the State Housing Corporation's website had personal details of the beneficiaries on a document titled Beneficiary Details belonging to Entry Report for Scheme Hudhud and the Urban Housing Scheme.
Clarifying that he hadn't hacked the website, he explained that he had merely exposed the details already uploaded for everyone to see and download. He has alerted the Universal Identification Authority of India, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre, CERT-In, the Centre's cyber response wing and the State government authorities. Last checked, the private details of the citizens have been removed.
“This is not the first time. They had done this earlier too. The Andhra Pradesh government is collecting details of each and every citizen in the name of transparency and e-governance. But all these details are not necessary if the purpose is just transparency," Srinivas reasoned.
Pointing at e-Pragathi, the AP State Enterprise Architechture, he said the Andhra Pradesh government is building a massive database of all citizens. A complete 360 degree coverage?
"Else, why do they need profiles, building locations, income details, bank accounts etc? A quick glance at the CM dashboard reveals medical profiles, student profiles among others. Now, for all you know police could be using the same information. The UIDAI discounts the possibility of profiling individuals, and says it is up to the governments. In Andhra, the authorities are going overboard. For instance in Vizag, auto-drivers are forced to display their Aadhaar details on the vehicle," he pointed out.
Speculating on the reason behind Andhra Pradesh government going full throttle in collecting Aadhaar details among others, Srinivas speculates that it might be doing it either deliberately or under the influence of techno-utopians, who believe technology will solve all issues. But wonders why the officialdom is insisting on Aadhaar for even Leprosy patients.
When contacted, Vijayanand, IT Secretary, declined comment.
What is ePragathi?
e-Pragati is a large programme, with a long-term vision for creating a sustainable eco-system of e-Governance, attempted on a scale like this by very few Governments in the world like Korea, Estonia and Singapore.
e-Pragati covers 33 departments and 315 agencies and around 745 services. This is the largest e-Governance program approved by any State with a total outlay of Rs.2398 crores, out of which the Government Capex would be to the extent of Rs 1528 crores.