“Therefore, there is no data leak, there is no systematic problem, but, if any one tries to be smart, the law ignites into action.” – Ravi Shankar Prasad, IT Minister, in the Rajya Sabha, on 10th April 2017 Details of around 130-135 million Aadhaar Numbers, and around 100 million bank numbers have been leaked online by just four government schemes alone: the National Social Assistance Programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), Daily Online Payments Reports under NREGA (Govt of Andhra Pradesh), and the Chandranna Bima Scheme (Govt of Andhra Pradesh), as per a research report from the Centre for Internet and Society. Download the report here. While the data leaked differs across schemes, it could include information such as Name, Aadhaar Number, Bank Account Number, Father's/Husband's Name, Age, Gender, among other things. In other words, a spammer/scammer/phishing-entity's dream come true. The Aadhaar Number is a permanent irrevocable number which is being made mandatory, and is being forcibly linked to mobile numbers, bank accounts, tax filings, scholarships, pensions, rations, school admissions, health records and much much more, which thus puts more personal information at risk. The report estimates that given the scale of the data leaks (beyond these schemes), the number could be closer to around 230 million (23 crore), given that "Over 23 crore beneficiaries have been brought under Aadhaar programme for DBT (direct benefit transfer), and if a significant number of schemes have mishandled data in a similar way." This essentially means that personally identifiable information for almost 17% (assuming…
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