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Still dealing with leak fallout, NADRA officials resist investigations

Still dealing with leak fallout, NADRA officials resist investigations
 

There appears to be no central government policy in Pakistan for how to handle a catastrophic divulging and selling of citizens’ personal data. Or maybe there is no agreed upon checklist.

Either way, following the reported vulnerability of every Pakistani’s personal information held by the nation’s ultimate data authority, it is unclear who can or should investigate the crime.

In fact, it is difficult from a distance to know when this leak, which, if reports are accurate, could affect all 240 million Pakistanis. Large leaks of personal data, allegedly absconded from the National Database Registration Authority, seem to have happened periodically since at least 2018.

It is difficult to ascertain with confidence when this landmark leak of digital ID data took place. Biometric Update has reached out to NADRA to clarify the details of the latest breach.

Alarming news bulletins involving NADRA, Pakistan’s central government digital ID database, have been popping up since the beginning of July.

Perhaps the most alarming of them are articles describing in-fighting and turf wars.

The Federal Investigation Agency wants to look into the matter, but according to numerous accounts, NADRA is either slow-walking cooperation or refusing to share any data at all.

It appears a government inquiry was underway, but, according to local news outlet The Express Tribune, a High Court judge ended the inquiry.

Noor Alam Khan, chair of the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, is said to have told the FIA to show the judge the personal information of his family’s that has been leaked.

The leak and resulting confusion have not derailed NADRA, however.

Officials this week announced they have signed a memo of understanding between its staff and those of the Department of Municipalities and Rural Development about improving the collection of birth and death certificates.

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