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The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which runs the Aadhaar project slammed people for spreading "rumours" against the Aadhaar in the backdrop of the appearance of an old Aadhaar helpline number in mobile phones.
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fear-mongering against Aadhaar it must be clearly understood that by merely having a helpline number, that too an outdated one, on a smartphone, no harm can be caused," a UIDAI statement said.
It even suggested deleting the number as no harm will be caused and update it with UIDAI's new helpline number 1947.
Furthermore, rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless and are rejected with all condemnation that it deserves, UIDAI said.
UIDAI also assures that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure. Therefore, people should stay away from such rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests.
The Authority also pointed out that one must know that Aadhaar has caused tremendous benefits to our country and helped saved more Rs. 90,000 Crore by preventing leakage and siphoning of benefits and subsidies meant for poor.
It has empowered 121 Crore people of India with a credible and secure identity which can be freely used anywhere, anytime and online.
It has also helped curb tax evasion, money launderers, benami accounts and shell companies, it added.
For those who are not aware last week French security expert, Elliot Alderson twitted and asked UIDAI that "Many people, with different providers, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default without their knowledge. Can you explain why?"
Later Google clarified that our internal review has revealed that in 2014, coded 112 distress helpline number was inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since. Since the numbers get listed on a user's contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device.
We are sorry for any concern that this might have caused and would like to assure everyone that this is not a situation of an unauthorized access of their Android devices. Users can manually delete the number from their devices.
We will work towards fixing this in an upcoming release of SetUp wizard which will be made available to OEMs over the next few weeks, Google added.