UIDAI plans public outreach to educate on safe sharing of Aadhaar details

As controversy continues to swirl around the largest biometric identity program in the world, India’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is planning a public education campaign to inform people about what they should and should not do with their Aadhaar numbers, Firstpost reports.

Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) Chairman and former UIDAI Director General Ram Sewak Sharma tweeted his Aadhaar number in late July, intensifying debate about the system’s security as Twitter users reported using his number to register mobile phone numbers and find more of his personal information, though none seems to have caused the “real harm” he was challenging them to prove they could do. The UIDAI will compare Aadhaar to other personal information, such as bank account numbers, and recommend that Indians not expose personal details in the public domain, including on Twitter and Facebook.

“It is necessary to inform people that they should use Aadhaar freely, without fear, and a detailed FAQ (frequently asked questions) will be issued in this regard,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told the PTI news agency.

The guidance will take the form of an FAQ, addressing a handful of common misconceptions. It will include advice that Aadhaar can be used freely for transactions despite the government’s suggestion to not share it indiscriminately following Sharma’s dare, and that bank accounts cannot be opened or funds withdrawn in someone’s name just by knowing their Aadhaar number.

The Indian government is also considering data protection legislation to back the much-maligned program.

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