UIDAI tells people to refrain from posting Aadhaar numbers on social media

UIDAI says the advisory has been issued in wake of news appearing on social media reporting some people publicly posting their Aadhaar numbers on social media platforms and posing challenges to others.

By Joe C Mathew  
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued an advisory, asking people to refrain from posting their Aadhaar numbers on the internet or social media sites, and posing challenges to others. Indiscriminate and unwanted publication of any personally sensitive information, whether Aadhaar or any other, may render the person concerned vulnerable and, therefore, should be avoided, cautioned UIDAI. The UIDAI advisory comes two days after TRAI Chairman RS Sharma courted controversy for posting his Aadhaar number on Twitter as a challenge. 

In a statement released on Tuesday, UIDAI said the advisory came in the backdrop of some news items appearing on social media reporting some people publicly posting their Aadhaar numbers on social media platforms and posing challenges to others. Such activities are not in accordance with the law and people should refrain from posting such things, said Aadhaar statutory authority.

Aadhaar is a unique identity number, which can be authenticated to prove one's identity for various services, benefits, and subsidies. UIDAI in its regular media campaigns have been consistently making people aware about not to display or publish or share their Aadhaar numbers in the public domain, the statement said.

"People should not display or publish their Aadhaar number in public. Aadhaar number is personally sensitive information like bank account number, passport number, PAN number, etc., which should be strictly shared only on a need basis for a legitimate use for establishing identity and for legitimate transactions," said the statement.

Also, as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and IT (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, and Justice Srikrishna's proposed Data Protection Bill, personally sensitive information should not be published or shared publicly.

The authority also said that doing Aadhaar authentication through somebody else's Aadhaar number or using someone else's Aadhaar number for any purpose might amount to impersonation, and thereby a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act and Indian Penal Code.

Any person indulging in such acts or abetting or inciting others to do so makes themselves liable for prosecution and penal action under the law. Therefore, people should refrain from such acts.

On July 28, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma had shared his Aadhaar number on Twitter, which went viral. And soon after, ethical hackers revealed that they found a host of information about the TRAI chief, including his phone numbers, residential address, PAN number, voter ID, even his phone model and Air India frequent flyer ID. Sharma, a former-UIDAI Director General, who vehemently supports the Aadhaar programme, has rubbished security concerns around Aadhaar, which he thinks is fully safe. In an op-ed on Tuesday, he said, "I thought about it and decided I should have the courage to act on my belief."

(Edited by Manoj Sharma) 

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