UIDAI warns people against sharing Aadhaar number in public or using Aadhaar ID of someone else
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Tuesday told Indians that they should not share their Aadhaar number in public, and particularly on the social media site. The advisory from UIDAI comes days after TRAI chairman R S, who was earlier director general of UIDAI for four years, shared his Aadhaar number on Twitter and challenged hackers to “harm” him. Following his lead, many others too shared their Aadhaar numbers on Twitter. Some of these tweets were later retweeted by Sharma.
Sharing Aadhaar number in public is not allowed by UIDAI and the agency had earlier warned of punishment in case someone does it. With a top official Sharma doing so on Twitter, many people joined in the bandwagon.
“This advisory has come from UIDAI with reference to some news items appearing on social media reporting few persons publicly posting their Aadhaar numbers on internet and social media and posing challenges to others. UIDAI said that such activities are uncalled for and should be refrained as these are not in accordance with the law,” a media note issued by UIDAI said.
At the same time UIDAI also said that if someone found using Aadhaar number belonging to some other person for authentication or identification purposes, the impersonator would be liable to prosecution. This bit aims to stop the misuse of publicly available Aadhaar numbers that people can photoshop into the Aadhaar cards and then can use in place where biometrics authentication of Aadhaar is not required.
Aadhaar is a unique identity which can be authenticated to prove one’s identity for various services, benefits and subsidies. UIDAI in its regular media campaigns have been consistently making people aware not to display or publish or share their Aadhaar number in public domain.
“Doing Aadhaar authentication through somebody else’s Aadhaar number or using someone else’s Aadhaar number for any purpose may amount to impersonation and thereby a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act and Indian Penal Code,” noted UIDAI.
On Saturday, TRAI chief RS Sharma had shared his Aadhaar number and challenged hackers. This resulted in a lot of his private information surfacing on Twitter. His home address, two phone numbers, PAN number, date of birth, frequent flier number with Air India and other key details were leaked, although Sharma insisted that no harm was done to him. Following in his lead, and in hope to zealously defend the claim that Aadhaar is completely secure, many more Twitter users shared their Aadhaar numbers in public. Some of these tweets also had tagged Sharma’s Twitter ID into them. Sharma later retweeted some of them.