Aadhaar data breach gets murkier with UIDAI filing FIR against the reporter Rachna Khaira


The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has registered an FIR against The Tribune reporter Rachna Khaira who published a report regarding the alleged breach of Aadhaar data. The publication had claimed on January 3 that they have access to crucial information from the UIDAI database in return for money.

The online portal reportedly paid Rs. 500 and it took only 10 minutes for the newspaper to fetch all the information from the Aadhaar database. The breach was carried out by an agent. In addition to the name, the address, postal code, photo, phone number, and e-mail was retrieved from the database by the reporter for just Rs. 500.

The reporter also paid another Rs. 300 to obtain access to the software to facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering the number on the system. During the investigation, it was revealed that the racket started to function 6 months back on WhatsApp and was not noticed by the UIDAI.

According to reports, a deputy director attached to UIDAI has filed an FIR under IPC 419, 420, 468 and 471. The crime involves punishment for cheating by impersonation, cheating, forgery and makes using of a forged document. Moreover, section 66 of the ITA Act and sections 36 and 27 of the Aadhaar Act have also been slapped against the accused. The report also includes Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj who reportedly established contacted for the coverage of the story by Khaira.

Meanwhile, The Tribune has not yet responded to the UIDAI regarding the FIR for publishing the news story and subsequent follow-up action. The UIDAI categorically denied any breach of data. The authority took to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to reveal that the news story is a clear case of misreporting and the data including biometric are fully safe and secure. The Government-backed agency added that the data of the people are covered with robust uncompromised security mechanism with no chance of any breach.

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According to UIDAI, they have provided a search facility to address grievances of people. The data can be fetched by providing the 12 digit Aadhaar numbers. However, the access to the search facility is only available to select state and central government officials. The search facility only provided limited access to the name and other parameters without biometric data.

Even though reporting is not a crime, gaining access to confidential information with money is not in good spirit. The publication should have reported the presence of the racket directly to the UIDAI for proper action instead of paying money to few people. It has been clearly established that the reporter gained access to the confidential system with the help of the racket. The newspaper hasn’t done anything to prevent the working of the racket.

Anand Narayanaswamy is the editor-in-chief of Netans. He was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 9 years (2002 to 2011) and currently part of MVP Reconnect program. He is also part of the prestigious ASPInsider program. Anand has published several articles and reviews related to various software and hardware products for various software and technology related websites. He is also active on social media and also participates as an Influencer for various brands. Anand can be reached at admin@netans.com

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