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UIDAI files FIR against The Tribune, reporter Rachna Khaira for Aadhaar data breach story

After a 3 January news report by The Tribune claimed a breach in Aadhaar data, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has registered an FIR against the news daily and journalist Rachna Khaira, reports said on Sunday.

The Tribune report had claimed that it took just Rs 500 and 10 minutes for the newspaper to get an access through an "agent" to every detail of any individual submitted to the UIDAI, including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

 UIDAI files FIR against The Tribune, reporter Rachna Khaira for Aadhaar data breach story

Representational image. News18

According to The Indian Express report, an unnamed deputy director has filed an FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) against the accused.

Section 66 of the IT Act and Section 36/37 of the Aadhaar Act have also been applied against the accused. The FIR has also named Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj, three people who were supposedly contacted for the story by Khira.

The Chandigarh-based publication has not yet reacted to the UIDAI registering an FIR for publishing the report, The Indian Express reported.

The latest development comes after the UIDAI on Thursday denied breach or leak of Aadhaar data.

"The Aadhaar data, including biometric information, is fully safe and secure," the authority had said in a statement, calling the report in The Tribune "a case of misreporting".

"UIDAI assures that there has not been any Aadhaar data breach," the statement had said, adding that the data was secure with a "robust uncompromised security".

UIDAI had said that it had given search facility for the purpose of grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials to help residents by entering their 12-digit Aadhaar numbers. The grievance redressal search facility, the statement had said, "gives only limited access to the name and other details and has no access to biometric details".

The Tribune report, which was widely shared on social media sites, also claimed that the newspaper said it paid another Rs 300, for which the "agent" provided "software" to facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering the Aadhaar number of any individual.

The Tribune also claimed to have found in its investigation that the racket may have started around six months ago when some anonymous groups were created on WhatsApp.

These groups targeted over three lakh village-level enterprise operators hired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) under the Common Service Centres Scheme (CSCS) across India, offering them access to UIDAI data.

CSCS operators were initially entrusted with the task of making Aadhaar cards across the country but were withdrawn later. The service was restricted to post offices and designated banks to avoid any security breach in November last year.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2018 14:06:58 IST