Is Your Aadhaar Data Safe?
By Arijit Banerjee
As the Modi-led government emphasizes on the growing importance of Aadhaar card, there’s an increasing concern of data-theft that looms large. The probable implications rising out of this concern might boomerang on millions of citizens and jeopardise their safety. Post the massive demonetisation campaign to flush out the black money from the country’s economy, Modi has been vociferous in his urge to ask citizens to resort to online transactions. The idea is to link all these transactions with the Aadhaar database and ensure transparency.
As per a report published by the Mint at the end of February, this year, the government is planning to link the growing Aadhaar database with private and public entities that will have direct access to the data. Needless to say, this will certainly increase the chances of data theft. The UIDAI (the body which manages the entire Aadhaar system) had already admitted to have shut a dozen of private websites and mobile apps that were found to obtain citizens’Aadhaar number and enrolment details illegally.
What’s at Stake?
These breaches can lead to a host of things ranging from pestering sales calls to online scams and something as lethal as an act of terrorism. Countries like the UK, France and the US have all shown apprehensions in maintaining large database of their citizens online owing to threats of data misuse. As per an official statement released by the US Federal Trade Commission, complaints of identity theft rose by 47% in 2015 as compared to the previous year.
In India, this might turn out to be more vicious as we have a larger population, that’s growing at a rapid pace. Hence, the database will be much heavier than these foreign countries. As the government plans to link data related to 88% of all Indians, one can assume the size of this mega database and the implications it would have on national security, in case of a security lapse.
As per a Times of India Report published in 2013, the Maharashtra government admitted to the loss of data on 3 lakh citizens while uploading the data on the Aadhaar Server in Bangalore. Such kind of flaws can cause a lot of problem to an individual and harm the entire national security on the whole.
Talking to the Mint, Amit Jaju, and a Mumbai-based Exec. Director for fraud investigation working with Ernst & Young said that the central technology for Aadhaar is strong as it uses iris or finger scans. As per him, banks should be concerned about the accounts created with the Aadhaar database as that is where it runs a risk of getting stolen.
This Calls for Trained IT Professionals
In a bid to scale up the process of digitisation, the government has already given access to 582 odd registered banks and other organisations to use Aadhaar’s data. In order to ensure utmost data safety and maintain a robust IT system these organisations will require a strong and trained team of IT professionals. In a fast-growing economy like India that is aggressively pushing for digitisation across government and private bodies, the demand for IT professionals will only increase.