Forensic Probe Into Stolen Aadhaar Data in Andhra Pradesh Raises Troubling Questions

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Hyderabad: A fresh first information report (FIR) has been registered by the Cyderabad police, on the back of a complaint by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) against ‘IT Grids Pvt Ltd’ for illegally storing and using Aadhaar data.

The Aadhaar programme by itself has many databases in its pipeline and it’s not simply the CIDR which is the primary database that houses the project’s information. The UIDAI has over the years helped build SRDH for several states including Andhra Pradesh.

Stolen Aadhaar

In essence, Andhra Pradesh tracks everyone’s Aadhaar information and links it to every other database for real-time governance. The geo-location of everyone in the state was also collected as part of e-KYC of every resident in the state. Nearly every government official has access to the state’s SRDH portal. The problem, though, is all of this information was made public for years and several complaints of data leaks were reported to both the UIDAI and the AP government.

The final piece of the puzzle was the Election Commission. As part of its National Electoral Roll Purification Authentication Programme (NERP-AP), there is some evidence to show it has shared voter data including photographs with the SRDHs in 2015.

Forensic investigations have always been demanded after each publicly reported Aadhaar leak. The UIDAI has always ignored this demand and has denied the role of Aadhaar in causing severe problems to the society. This has resulted in wrongful use of the technology to cause harm and even helped political parties in micro-targeting voters.

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