HYDERABAD: The only way to escape the threats posed by Aadhaar is to limit its use, create a new batch of the unique identification numbers and scrap the old ones that have been compromised: this was the key take away from the discussion on Aadhaar held in Hyderabad on Sunday.
The discussion was led by Srinivas Kodali, a researcher on open data, who has been advocating for better cyber protection for aadhaar data. The discussion was attended by students of cyber security and lawyers. “So far 280 schemes have been linked to Aadhaar even though registering with Aadhaar is voluntary when it comes to the schemes. Rules are framed in such a way that a person has no choice but to enrol under the scheme,” said Kodali.
The discussion touched upon how the aadhaar details of school children were being published online along with their caste, religion, address and other details. “The problem with having such information leaked once online is that even if the state government takes it down, the information will still be available online. All one needs to do is search through an internet archive search engine, and access an archived version of the website,” said Kodali, “Internet search engines like Google, for instance, crawl through a large number of websites.
Even if the leaked aadhaar data is taken down, Google will still have it with them. The people who have worked behind the development of aadhaar architecture were volunteers. Some of them went on to set up their own startups that profit out of the database. There exists no law preventing them to make money out of someone else’s personal data. So far 210 websites have published Aadhaar data of people online.”
Another way to prevent further misuse of Aadhaar information can be by converting it from its present form of serving as a residence identity into a national identity document in the form of a smart card, said Kodali.
“It’s possible to extract the full Aadhaar number of a person by just having access to the first two and the last two digits. If you notice as to how government documents publish the data online, they will black out the numbers in the middle. But that doesn’t really help. A simple coding will help reveal the rest of the numbers,” he added.