UIDAI slams vested interests for spreading ‘rumours’ against Aadhaar

New Delhi: Days after Google owned up to the default inclusion of old Aadhaar helpline number in mobile phones, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Sunday condemned the vested interests for misusing Google’s “inadvertent” act as an opportunity to spread rumours against Aadhaar.

Earlier, Google had clarified 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.

UIDAI further expressed hope that Google, a large digital platform provider, will look into this issue and will exercise due care so that such things are not repeated in future.

“UIDAI condemns the vested interests who tried to misuse Google’s “inadvertent” act as an opportunity to spread rumours and go around fear-mongering against Aadhaar. 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”. 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,” the Aadhaar-governing body said in a statement.

The Aadhaar body further stated that by merely having a outdated helpline number on a mobile, no harm can be caused.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 so wish, update it with UIDAI’s new helpline number 1947,” UIDAI noted.

Assuring that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure, 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 added.

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.

The Aadhaar body had earlier emphasised that it had not asked any agency whatsoever to include its helpline number in the mobile phones. It also clarified that its valid toll-free number is 1947, which is functional for more than two years. (ANI)