UIDAI probing reported Aadhaar data breach, but denies information leak

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Security editor for ZDnet, Zack Whittaker had tweeted, 'India has a national ID database with the private information of almost 1.2 billion nationals. The report published yesterday by The Tribune claims that their reporters paid Rs. 500 of Indian currency equals to $8 to a person named Anil Kumar for accessing data.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the govt's agency behind the development of Aadhaar told the Tribune that the access was illegal and a major security breach.

Tribune suggested that software is also being sold online that can generate fake Aadhaar cards, an identity document that is required to access an increasing number of government services, including free meals.

Further, Uidai said, since the Aadhaar number is not a secret number, it is to be shared with authorised agencies whenever an Aadhaar holder wishes to avail certain service or benefit of government welfare scheme/s or other services.

The newspaper claimed that it bought the Aadhaar details from someone who is running a WhatsApp group. The biometric information - unique fingerprints, Iris scans - were not accessible from the website, UIDAI has said. The UIDAI said in a statement that "There has not been any Aadhaar data breach". Furthermore, it remains unclear for now the scale of the abuse of this grievance redressal system.

The UIDAI maintains complete log and traceability of the facility and any misuse can be traced and appropriate action taken.

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"Even in grievance redressal system, the designated officer does not have access to biometric details", UIDAI added. Snowden shared his viewpoint after a report came to light last week claiming that private information in almost 1.2 billion Indian nationals in Aadhaar cards has been breached.

Claims of bypassing or duping the Aadhaar enrolment system are totally unfounded.

The statement was reshared by the central ruling party BJP's social media account.

Privacy advocates have warned the government about potential dangers of maintaining a centralised system of such large volume of data.

Snowden said on Twitter, "It is the natural tendency of government to desire ideal records of private lives".

"History has shown that no matter what the laws are, the result is always abuse, " he said.