Worried about Aadhaar enabling government surveillance? Imagine suddenly realising that the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) helpline number has been suddenly saved on your phone. That’s what some people with different service providers went through on Thursday.
It was French hacker Robert Baptiste, pseudonym Elliot Baptiste, who brought everyone’s attention to it when he asked people on Twitter to check if the UIDAI helpline was saved on their phones. Soon after, hundreds of shocked netizens posted screenshots of the helpline number saved on their phones, Business Standard reported.
However, the UIDAI denied on Friday that it had forced any phone manufacturer or service provider to add the helpline number into people’s contact lists. UIDAI put out a statement that the toll-free number 1800-300-1947 was not valid anymore.
… It is clarified that, UIDAI has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever. 2/n
— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) August 3, 2018
This how Twitterati reacted to the UIDAI helpline number slipping into their phone contacts
Check ur phone address book. U’l see an entry for #UIDAI with the number 1800-300-1947
Entered our phones without our permission
Entered our house without permission
Entered our personal lives without permission
Our vote could be cast without our permission or selection
— Vaishali Singh (@imvaishalisingh) August 3, 2018
— Vinayak Razdan (@8ate) August 3, 2018
Wtf #UIDAI .. how dare you push your contact information into my contacts without my permission ??? @BDUTT @sardesairajdeep @narendramodi @mkvenu1 .. please fire the guys who are in decision making level in that stupid organisation!! pic.twitter.com/RAQ1whrLoG
— Archish Mathe (@archishmathe) August 3, 2018
Wtf is this? This automatically got added to my phone book without my consent / prior intimation. Checked after seeing some updates by others on twitter. Anyone has answers for this? This is scary. #Aadhaar #UIDAI pic.twitter.com/0gVRWTyobd
— Siddharth Agarwal (@sidagarwal) August 3, 2018
— Sai Bharadwaj (@saibharadwaj) August 3, 2018
This a social security breach.
Millions of mobile users have an unknown invalid number automatically stored in their contact list as UIDAI.
Wasn’t UIDAI using this number earlier?
Why was there no public announcement about it being outdated? #UIDAI, Who is responsible then? https://t.co/IvH7XJ95lo
— Sanobar (@SanobarFatma) August 3, 2018