‘Se­cu­rity of Aad­haar Sys­tem is Go­ing to be a Big Con­cern’

For­mer UIDAI chief Nilekani, how­ever, said there has been no ‘hack’

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Ben­galuru: For­mer chair­man of Unique Iden­tity De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of In­dia (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani said the Aad­haar sys­tem has not been breached but go­ing for­ward, se­cu­rity was go­ing to be a cause for con­cern.

“On the se­cu­rity front, there has re­ally been no ‘hack’ to the Aad­haar sys­tem. But peo­ple (hack­ers) have tried to get users to do an OTP and give their de­tails,” Nilekani said, adding, “It is not a hack. But ab­so­lutely, se­cu­rity is go­ing to be a big con­cern in all these things.” His com­ments come in the back­drop of UIDAI lodg­ing a com­plaint with the Ben­galuru po­lice last month against an IITKharag­pur en­gi­neer Ab­hi­nav Sri­vas­tava and his startup Qarth Tech­nolo­gies Pvt Ltd for de­velo- ping an app and il­le­gally ac­cess­ing the Aad­haar data­base. Nilekani, who was speaking at the C K Pra­ha­lad Me­mo­rial Lec­ture, an­swered mul­ti­ple au­di­ence queries on data pri­vacy, se­cu­rity and the use of data for public good. “If we are go­ing to be an in­creas­ingly dig­i­tal world, we will have to make sure all our sys­tems are se­cure. It’s an on go­ing thing. All over the world, we have this chal­lenge. We are mov­ing at a very rapid pace and we will ha- ve to do it very quickly.” Com­ment­ing on the on-go­ing ju­di­cial de­bate on the right to pri­vacy in In­dia, Nilekani said, “We will have to see what view the Supreme Court takes on the is­sue of pri­vacy”.

“Af­ter that (pri­vacy is­sue), the court will have a bench on the Aad­haar case. Right now, it’s a level higher. Con­cep­tu­ally, whether we have a fun­da­men­tal right to pri­vacy or not is the ques­tion.”

The ar­chi­tect of Aad­haar, the 12-digit unique iden­tity num­ber, said the data ex­plo­sion in In­dia presents a strate­gic op­por­tu­nity for the coun­try to lever­age.

Time is run­ning out and In­dia needs to take a strate­gic po­si­tion on data coloni­sa­tion, pri­vacy and data dom­i­nance. It is a pol­icy is­sue and not a tech­nol­ogy is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed soon. He said In­dia should take a strate­gic view of data, so that it can be used for the public good.

“The an­swer lies in the in­ver­sion of data,” Nilekani said, ex­plain­ing that in­ver­sion of data is when the owner who cre­ates data is em­pow­ered by the data he pro­duces.

Nandan Nilekani

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