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  India   All India  23 Apr 2017  Jharkhand govt website reveals Aadhaar numbers of over 10 lakh citizens

Jharkhand govt website reveals Aadhaar numbers of over 10 lakh citizens

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Apr 23, 2017, 4:19 pm IST
Updated : Apr 23, 2017, 4:20 pm IST

The breach in data has now made personal information of a vast number of individuals freely available to anybody who accesses the site.

The Supreme Court has expressed doubts regarding a government policy to make Aadhaar mandatory in order to avail benefits from several government schemes and services. (Photo: File/PTI)
 The Supreme Court has expressed doubts regarding a government policy to make Aadhaar mandatory in order to avail benefits from several government schemes and services. (Photo: File/PTI)

Ranchi: Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security revealed that the identities of more than a million citizens were published on the government's website because of a programming breach.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, digital identities comprising information like names, addresses, Aadhaar numbers and even bank account details of  over a million beneficiaries of Jharkhand’s old age pension scheme, were accidentally published on the State’s official website.

1.4 million pensioners out of a total of over 1.6 million had synced their bank accounts with their Aadhar numbers to aid direct bank transfers for monthly pensions, said the report.

The breach in data has now made personal information of a vast number of individuals freely available to anybody who accesses the site.

In this regard, the Supreme Court, cyber-security experts and opposition politicians have expressed doubts regarding a government policy to make Aadhaar mandatory in order to avail benefits from several government schemes and services.

Authorities concerned have also filed police complaints, over the past one month, against private bodies that ‘illegally collect’ Aadhaar numbers of citizens.

To cross-check the authenticity of the breach, journalists logged on to the site and found transaction-level data on pension paid for scores of pension accounts.

Earlier in 2017, an Aadhaar service provider was blacklisted for 10 years by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for publishing the Aadhaar number of MS Dhoni, former captain of the Indian cricket team.

Publishing of Aadhaar numbers is an infringement of Section 29 (4) of the Aadhaar Act.   According to HT, In Jharkhand, officials were surprisingly certain about the contravention, suggesting that they had been aware of the situation for several days.

“We got to know about it this week itself. Our programmers are working on it, and the matter should be addressed very soon,” secretary of the state’s social welfare department, MS Bhatia was quoted as saying. Bhatia declined to remark on the legal implications of revelation of such information.

The policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, Pranesh Prakash inquired, “Will the CEO of UIDAI take any action against the government of Jharkhand for making this dataset public? And if they don’t, does that mean they condone this act?”

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, the data breach “makes a complete mockery of all that Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad have said in Parliament.”

Problems with Aadhaar-based authentication and enrolment, also meant that many vulnerable people had been denied their legally mandated welfare entitlements, Ramesh added.

Tags: uidai, aadhaar act, old age pension scheme, jharkhand directorate of social security, centre for internet and security
Location: India, Jharkhand, Ranchi