‘Security of Aadhaar System is Going to be a Big Concern’
Former UIDAI chief Nilekani, however, said there has been no ‘hack’
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.