Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has advised people to refrain from making their Aadhaar number public on the internet and on social media and posing challenges to others.
In a series of tweets, UIDAI issued an advisory to people warning them that “such activities are uncalled for and should be refrained as these are not in accordance with the law.”
The authority said that the advisory was put out with reference to some news items appearing on social media about “few people publicly posting their Aadhaar numbers on internet and social media and posing challenges to others.”
“In our regular media campaigns, we have been consistently making people aware not to display or publish or share their Aadhaar number in public domain. We emphasise that people should not display or publish their Aadhaar number in public,” the UIDAI said.
The authority said in a series of tweets that the unique 12-digit 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.”
Citing the Aadhaar Act, 2016, IT (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 and Justice BN Srikrishna’s proposed Data Protection Bill, the UIDAI said that “personally sensitive information should not be published or shared publicly.”
It said that unwanted publication of the sensitive information may render the concerned person vulnerable and hence, must be avoided.
Authenticating Aadhaar “through somebody else’s Aadhaar number or using someone else’s Aadhaar number for any purpose may amount to impersonation and thereby a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” the UIDAI warned.
It further warned that people “indulging in such acts or abetting or inciting others to do so” are liable for prosecution.
On Friday, the Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, RS Sharma, disclosed his Aadhaar number in a Twitter post after a user challenged him over his comments on the sanctity of personal information stored in the Aadhaar database.
Sharma courted his fair share of controversy on the social media platform after the incident. While he fielded most of the responses directed at him, continuing to ask people to cause him “real harm”, on Monday, his daughter Kavita Sharma was sent an email that was marked to a few journalists as well.
The email said that his bank information and all email accounts had been compromised. The sender asked Kavita to pay a ransom, failing which all “sensitive files” would be released to the media if her father does not delete his accounts “immediately”.
On Sunday, a French security researcher who goes by the moniker Elliot Alderson, challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to disclose his Aadhaar number.