Leaked private details of MS Dhoni show how insecure Aadhaar can be

Data breach in case of an affected VVIP cricketer has been officially addressed, but what about thousands of poor betrayed by UIDAI?

 |  5-minute read |   29-03-2017
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Oftentimes, moments of propaganda masquerade as fan moments, when legends of Indian sports world become mascots of a dodgy government scheme.

Such a fan moment happened when cricketer MS Dhoni’s Aadhaar enrollment process, by a firm called CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, and Union minister of information technology (also of law and justice), Ravi Shankar Prasad, tweeted out a picture, freezing the historic moment for posterity.

Great push for Digital India. Brilliant ambassador and willing backer of Aadhaar, the biometric identity from Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI). So far, so good. Until, in the overenthusiasm, a major breach of data, privacy and trust happens.

In a series of tweets (embedded above), MS Dhoni’s wife, Saakshi Rawat Dhoni, complained to minister Prasad that an overenthusiastic volunteer had posted a picture of himself with the cricketing legend and had also put out a picture divulging sensitive details pertaining to his Aadhaar enrollment.

Mrs Dhoni tweeted the screenshot of the tweet that had the details, drawing minister Prasad’s attention to this massive security lapse and a general lack of understanding among the very volunteers who are handling Aadhaar enrollment, authentication services on behalf of the government.

While prompt action has been taken and the Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) has been blacklisted for ten years owing to this breach, the fact that even VVIPs are not safe when it comes to Aadhaar and its deeply problematic, in-built insecurities, what really happens to the ordinary Indians, especially the poor breached, betrayed and struck-off from Aadhaar’s digital universe?

As of now, no clarification has come from Aadhaar’s official Twitter account @UIDAI, and nor has @CSSeGov_ tweeted out a public apology to MS Dhoni.

However, reactions to this blatant display of digital arrogance by the proponents of Aadhaar have started coming in.

Anti-Aadhaar digital privacy activists and journalists have been documenting how the poor get excluded from an Aadhaar-based identity system.

Similarly, the security concerns and the legal overreach of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 are staggering.

What happened with MS Dhoni is happening to thousands of common Indians everyday. However, there’s very little hue and cry about the daily breaches and overreaches by Aadhaar’s invasive and fraud-prone identity project.

Also read: Making Aadhaar mandatory for I-T returns and PAN smells like authoritarianism

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