Aadhaar data leak: Govt deny claims by WikiLeaks
Days after a media report which quoted WikiLeaks saying that the company which provides devices to record biometric data for Aadhaar may have compromised the sensitive data, now, the Indian government has "declined" the claims.
The government officials said that claims which said that the data has been "leaked" is not possible because the data received by the vendors are in an encrypted form which is then forwarded to Aadhaar servers, as reported by The Times of India.
"The reports do not have any basis in fact. Aadhaar data is safely encrypted and is not accessible to any other agency," the report quoted a government official source as saying.
On Thursday, WikiLeaks had said that United State's top intelligence agency, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is spying on India's Aadhaar data by using tools designed by US-based Cross Match Technologies Inc.
In 2011, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had certified Cross Match Technologies to provide biometric devices for Aadhaar data collection.
On August 24, WikiLeaks had tweeted saying "Have CIA spies already stolen #India's national ID card database?" A few minutes later, it tweeted: "Has the CIA already stolen India's #Aadhaar database?"
Cross Match received certification for India's massive UID national identity card biometric system https://t.co/YzyajUOWBi
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 24, 2017
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 25, 2017
According to WikiLeaks, it publishes secret documents from the ExpressLane project of the CIA. "These documents show one of the cyber operations the CIA conducts against liaison services -- which includes among many others the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)."
“The OTS (Office of Technical Services), a branch within the CIA, has a biometric collection system that is provided to liaison services around the world—with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems,” WikiLeaks in a release said.
Further, the release mentioned that, "But this 'voluntary sharing' obviously does not work or is considered insufficient by the CIA, because ExpressLane is a covert information collection tool that is used by the CIA to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services."
Soon after WikiLeaks' release, GGI News wrote an article describing "“How CIA Spies Access India’s Biometric Aadhaar Database". The article was retweeted by WikiLeaks.
The report was published on the same day when Supreme Court in a ruling on the right to privacy, protected it as a fundamental right under the constitution.
“The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution,” SC said.
India’s top court took up this ruling amidst the BJP government that has mandated the use of Aadhaar for a number of facilities including filing of tax returns, availing of provident fund facilities and even mobile numbers that have to be now re-verified with Aadhaar.