Centre for Internet & Society

The Modi government has been trying to make Aadhaar mandatory for everything from Income Tax return, buying a SIM card, bank transaction, train ticket, air travel, mid-day meal government subsidies etc.

The blog post by Bobins Abraham was published by India Times on May 3, 2017.

While the government claims that the move will increase security and ensure that the benefits are reaching to real people and not syphoned off. But security experts have been pointing out the possibility of security breach in the system resulting in the sensitive biometric data reaching in the hands of those, who could misuse them.

A study by Bengaluru-based think tank, Centre for Internet and Society has once again cemented these concerns. According to its report titled, "Information Security Practices of Aadhaar (or lack thereof): A documentation of the public availability of Aadhaar Numbers with sensitive personal financial information," Aadhaar data of as many as 13.5 crore card holders have already leaked online.

The study revealed that the mass data leak happened due to security flaws in four government websites:

  • National Social Assistance Programme
  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)
  • Daily Online Payment Reports under NREGA (Govt. of Andhra Pradesh)
  • Chandranna Bima Scheme run by Government of Andhra Pradesh

“Based on the numbers available on the websites looked at, estimated number of Aadhaar numbers leaked through these four portals could be around 130-135 million and the number of bank account numbers leaked at around 100 million from the specific portals we looked at,” the report said.

The report was published even as the government continue to defend Aadhaar in the Supreme Court saying that the move to link Aadhaar with PAN cards was meant to put a stop on the number of individuals in possession of multiple PAN cards by putting a robust identification system in place. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that this will help in curbing money laundering, the flow of black money and controlling the funding of terror.