Amidst all the reports of poor security, privacy concerns, and the endless memes, we are still confused about whether or not we should link our Aadhaars. As the struggle to link the cards to bank accounts, SIM cards and other services cause Indians to lose sleep, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), in a series of tweets, began the trend AadhaarMythBuster, in a bid to dispel fears about the government’s pet project.
The UIDAI claims that bank frauds based on Aadhaar were because people provided PIN codes and other card details to unscrupulous people. The biometrics collected by telecos are, according to UIDAI encrypted at the point of collection and sent over to UIDAI to confirm the details. The info is never stored by the service providers.
Aadhaar is often looked at as means for the government to spy on its citizens. Many are still unclear about the way it stores data and what it does with it. It did not help UIDAI with the breaches in its security. Recently a French security researcher Robert Baptiste, highlighted problems with the official mAadhaar Android app, which lets you display a digital version of your ID card on your phone, according to a report on TNW.
Baptiste who’s also known as Elliot Alderson on Twitter, noted that the poor security on the app could easily let attackers who are in possession of your phone, bypass the password protection in mAadhaar and access your private information.
It is heartening to see UIDAI reaching out to the nation of over 1.3 billion people. Links to lists of FAQs are quite handy and the tweets clear out some of the lingering doubts on the system.
However, question still remain over the security of the system. Recently The Tribune had accessed Aadhaar details of several citizens after shelling out a meagre sum of Rs 500 over a WhatsApp group. To make matters worse, former CIA operative and serial whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted that the journalist who exposed the leak should be awarded.
The UIDAI’s approach to quell citizens’ apprehensions on Aadhaar is commendable, but we think that it has arrived a little too late. It is also unclear if the authorities are planning to carry out a larger campaign that goes beyond social media as most of the population aren’t active on the internet. For many, Aadhaar linking has become a nuisance and the system is reduced to a joke in social media forums and casual banter.
As of now, the country waits for the Supreme Court’s final hearing of the Aadhaar case. One of the petitions challenges the validity of Aadhaar and alleges that it goes against an individual’s right to privacy.