UIDAI slams vested interests for ‘fear-mongering’, says helpline number cannot steal phone data

The UIDAI, which came under fire after its old helpline number “inadvertently” surfaced in many Android phones automatically, on Sunday condemned the “vested interests” who tried to spread rumours and create fear among people over the matter.

Noting that the technology giant Google had claimed responsibility for the act and had promised to fix it, the biometric ID provider appealed to people not to panic and assured that no harm will be caused because of the old and outdated helpline number.

The Aadhaar body had earlier clarified and emphasised that it had not asked any agency to include its helpline number in the mobile phones.

Earlier, Google had said that UIDAI’s old contact number 18003001947 was added by it “inadvertently” along with police/fire number 112 in 2014 and has since been continuing through sync mechanism. The search engine also expressed regret for the same and assured that it will fix this inadvertent error in their next release.

“Rumours are being floated in some social media such as Twitter and WhatsApp that this number has ‘mysteriously popped up on mobile devices and will be harmful, Aadhaar data has been breached, etc., and therefore, the helpline number should be deleted immediately’,” the UIDAI said in a statement.

“This is totally false propaganda and is nothing but scare-mongering against Aadhaar by vested interests trying to exploit Google’s act to spread misinformation about Aadhaar by scaring people,” it said.

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The Aadhaar body further stated that by merely having an outdated helpline number on a mobile, no harm can be caused.

“Just by a helpline number in a mobile’s contact list the data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen. Therefore, there should be no panic to delete the number as no harm will be caused. Rather people may, if they wish, update it with UIDAI’s new helpline number 1947,” it said.

Assuring that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure, the UIDAI clarified that rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless. “People should stay away from such rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests. They should also not waste their time and time of their near and dear ones by forwarding or circulating such false and baseless rumours on their WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook , etc,” the statement said.

For the past few days, several people on social media have accused the UIDAI of breaching the privacy of several citizens, and have uploaded images on Twitter and other platforms of the pre-loaded helpline number.

(With ANI inputs)

First Published: Aug 05, 2018 20:13 IST

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