Orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar: Nilekani

Orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar: Nilekani

Orchestrated campaign to malign Aadhaar: Nilekani

Former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani said there was an "orchestrated campaign" to malign Aadhaar.

He was reacting to the filing of an FIR on The Tribune newspaper report relating to an Aadhaar data breach.

"There is  100% an orchestrated campaign to see how Aadhaar gets maligned, yes absolutely," Nilekani told ET Now on the sidelines of the Infosys Science Foundation Awards here.

The Delhi Police had on Monday registered the FIR on a complaint by an UIDAI official following  a newspaper report on the data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards, naming the journalist  who wrote  the story.

The official told the police that the correspondent, posing as a buyer, had purchased a service offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details of Aadhaar numbers.

Nilekani said the issue has been blown out of proportion as the Aadhaar system  has  far too many security layers and it is not possible to randomly  penetrate it.

"If you are just taking a negative view (on Aadhaar) and not a constructive view, then you also have other (negative) reactions. I think everybody has to accept that Aadhaar is here to stay," he said.

The Aadhaar is here to stay because as many as 119 crore people have it, 550 million have linked the numbers to their bank accounts and Rs 95,000 crore has been transferred into Direct Benefit Transfer accounts, he said.

Nilekani said he was very confident of the Supreme Court upholding Aadhaar under the fundamental right of privacy because it meets the test of the law.

Replying to a query, he welcomed putting in place a two-layer security system to reinforce privacy protection for Aadhaar ID number holders by the UIDAI.

"I think this is a very significant announcement by the UIDAI and in some sense it really makes the case against it go away," he said.

The former UIDAI chief said it has introduced a virtual identification for ID holders so that the actual number need not be shared by people to authenticate their identity.

Simultaneously, it has further regulated the storage of the Aadhaar number within various databases, he said.

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