UIDAI condemns rumours, fear mongering on the pre-installed old toll free number

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The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) said rumour dealers attempted to befoul the image of Aadhaar for a Google’s accidental act which led to the appearance of its old helpline number 1800 300 1947 in the contact list of different mobile phone users. “UIDAI condemns the vested interests who tried to misuse Google’s “inadvertent” act as an opportunity to spread rumours and go around fear-mongering against Aadhaar,” the authority said in his statement.

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In the previous week, a French security expert whose nom de plume Elliot Alderson and describes himself as the “worst nightmare” of the UIDAI, in a tweet raised an alarm on the  presence of a UIDAI contact number in contact list of the mobile phone users without their acquiescence. The UIDAI said vested interests misused the Google’s “inadvertent” act around its previous helpline number in order to create fear and also tarnish the image of Aadhaar while emphasising that the number stored in the contact list cannot steal data from the mobile phone.

This tweet also scared many mobile phone users for their appearance of the UIDAI’s old helpline number in their contacts even though they did not add it. Google even admitted that the number 18003001947 was added by it ‘carelessly’ along with the police and the fire number 112 in 2014 and has since been continuing through the sync mechanism.

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The UIDAI said it has earlier also clarified and emphasised that it has not asked any agency whatsoever to include its helpline number in the mobile phones and even added that merely adding a phone number cannot steal data from your phone.

Just by a helpline number in a mobile’s contact list the data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen. Therefore, there should be no panic to delete the number as no harm will be caused. Rather people may, if they so wish, update it with UIDAI’s new helpline number 1947,” added the authority.

Anderson in his another tweet also said that there was no need to freak out as it was just a contact but alarmed that it could be the tip of “an iceberg”. The UIDAI said rumours being spread on the social media to delete the helpline number are “totally false propaganda and is nothing but scare-mongering against Aadhaar by vested interests trying to exploit Google’s act to spread misinformation about Aadhaar by scaring people.”

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The UIDAI said that rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless and are rejected with all condemnation that it deserves. “UIDAI assures that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure. Therefore, people should stay away from such rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests. They should also not waste their time and time of their near and dear ones by forwarding or circulating such false and baseless rumours on their WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook , etc” the statement said.

Aadhaar has empowered 121 crore people of India with a credible and secure identity which can be freely used anywhere, anytime and online. People are able to get their rightful entitlement directly into their bank accounts without any middlemen,” the statement said.It has also helped curb tax evasion, money launderers, benami accounts and shell companies, it added.

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