Aadhar Leak: Will Technology Shield Our Privacy?
By Meghna Kar
Digital identities of more than a million citizens have been revealed by close to 200 central and government websites, claims the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Certain reports hinted that the biometric data was allegedly accessed by 4 foreign portals. The two portals- National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’s (NREGA) are involved in this. They belong to the ministry of rural development.
The glitch not only revealed the names, the addresses, Aadhaar card numbers but also the bank account details of the beneficiaries. Reports say that the documentation of the leak was done very meticulously. Reports say that about a 100 million bank numbers were revealed from the 4 portals. Let us know why and how breaching of information occurs.
What happened earlier this year?
There has been news of data leaks in the past. The leaks however increased significantly when there was a link between government schemes and Aadhar details. UIDAI stated that the Aadhaar biometric system, which had been recently developed in India, has adequate and robust security features to prevent the possibility of unauthorised information database. According to The Press Trust of India (PTI) report, the UIDAI stated that there had been not a single leak or breach against the information of an Aadhar card holder previously.
How fool proof are digitalized identities in the contemporary world today?
Data stored on any corporate network platform is always at risk because it is more accessible than ever. Some organizations provide easy access to information sharing and that has allowed for more powerful risks like data breaching. While we can say that in the corporate environment, there is great productivity throughout, if the digitalized data of a person, for instance, is not secure, then it surely results into a big loss for the organization. This is to prevent that data being misused by third parties for fraud, such as identity theft.
After the recent breach was noticed, the data was removed from the concerned websites, UIDAI said in a reply to RTI application. The RTI replied saying that “The UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity.”
Question of safety in later years
Technology is evolving and biometrics seem to be the safest method for privacy and security.
But the question here is- with the help of advanced technology in later years, will there still be a threat of data misuse? Will technology still be standing fool proof twenty years from now? Weather a citizen’s Aadhar card details is or will be safe, it’s now the biggest question playing on the mind of every Indian. However, the central government is in the process of making sure that the Aadhar enrolment becomes mandatory for all people to avail various benefits of certain social service schemes.
A move towards privacy protection
The 21st century has become the century of Big Data and advanced Information Technology allows for the storage and processing of a large amount of data. Data is like one’s most valuable asset, yet often the most vulnerable. So it’s absolutely crucial to use the right system to deter a security breach from happening. It is also important and critical that the public and the private sectors must build together a cybersecurity framework in order to protect and secure corporate proprietary information while promoting an exchange of information.
Cyberattacks have become a constant headline news and cyber security is one of the most urgent issues of the day. Privacy protection and cyber security should be thought of as interconnected: as more and more personal information is processed or stored online, privacy protection increasingly relies on effective cyber security implementation by organizations to secure personal data both when it is at transit and at rest.
Certain guidelines by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (IT) say that the personal sensitive data of public cannot be stored in agencies unless and until they are encrypted. The Information Technology Act 2000 and Aadhar Act 2016 have laid down certain rules regarding this issue. These new guidelines seek to answer certain questions that are being asked on data protection.
UIDAI states that certain security audits are currently being maintained to strengthen privacy and security of data. The government must fix the holes in the bucket before any data is filled in it.