Cyber expert fears misuse of UID numbers

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The Aadhaar Number, or the Unique Identification Card (UID) that will create a database for 1.2 billion people in India, may go out of hand, leading cybersecurity expert R. Bhaskar says.

“The facility is ambitious and is sure to make functioning easy from the governance perspective. But at the moment, it is not clear how the government’s plan for UID will work out,” Bhaskar told IANS. “There is some kind of certification or guarantee needed from companies that are pooling the database or will be handling it,” he said on the sidelines of a seminar on cyberspace and democracy at the India International Centre here.

UIDs, the UPA government’s flagship programme chaired by Nandan Nilekani, seeks to accord each Indian a unique identification number. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the nodal agency which has appointed registrars across the country to facilitate the enrolment process. Registrars, typically government departments and public sector organisations, have in turn appointed the agency to collect data.

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Over 200 such agencies, including Wipro, Comat Technologies, Alankit and Virgo Softech, are involved in enrollment and will issue a 12-digit number.

Within the proposed process, it is to be delivered in 20-30 days at the person’s address by speed post, after verification of biometrics and demographic data. Data verification is done by the authority under a centralised system. “The immediate threat may not be realised now. But in a span of next five years, when the cards will be rolled out completely, we may also witness cases of cyber mischief such as hacking,” Bhaskar said. He further warned that cybermischief may also evolve into cybercrime that poses serious threat to country’s national security.

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