Yet again, there was a leak of the Aadhaar data. This time, the Union Water and Sanitation Ministry mistakenly uploaded Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin on its website. Soon after the news broke out, the details which were available on the website were taken down.
It is a mandate that the details of the Aadhaar of an individual “shall not be published, displayed or posted publicly by any person or entity or agency.” A leak of any nature puts the agency which is in possession of the details liable for the security and confidentiality of the Aadhaar numbers. The numbers cannot be made public until the time the Aadhaar numbers have been redacted or blacked out by appropriate means.
This is the first instance of a data breach through Aadhaar details by a ministry of the central government. However, this is not the first time that Aadhar data has been breached. Here is a list of few recent instances where the Aadhar details of individuals were put in public domain.
1) Jharkhand: The government website of Department of Women and Child & Social Security in Jharkhand mistakenly published the details of lakhs of pension beneficiaries. The incident came to light after the UIDAI office in Ranchi called up the office of the department about the lapse.
2) MS Dhoni data leak: Excited over meeting cricketer MS Dhoni, his Aadhaar details were tweeted by an enrolment agency in March 2017. The picture was even retweeted by Union minister of information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad. The issue gained momentum after Dhoni’s wife Sakshi questioned Prasad over the privacy breach.
3) Kerala scholarship website leak: A scholarship site in Kerala published profiles of students with their Aadhaar number on its site. The site Egrantz was launched by the SC/ST Development Department of Kerala to help students belonging to those categories. By clicking on the ‘Student profile’ on the website, their information including their bank account, Aadhaar number, and details of scholarship were put on display.
4) In a photo posted by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, he was seen handing an oversized replica of an Aadhaar card to a citizen. The breach in security was the fact that it was not a sample but real details of Aadhaar number. The tweet has since been deleted.
5) A report in the MediaNama said that the Ministry of HRD published excel sheets having the information of 1360 people was made public on its website.
6) As per reports, a government agency in Telangana published the Aadhar details of nearly 600,000 children in February 20017.
7) Reports also suggest that Khadi and Village Industries Commission has the details of Aadhaar numbers on its website.