wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

, , ,

Citizens in desperate need of Covid-19 aid publish their Aadhaar number on social media

Aadhaar, surveillance
Credit: Trisha Jalan

Citizens in desperate need of help with issues surrounding Covid-19 are sharing their Aadhaar numbers along with their phone numbers in the hope that someone responds to their SOS calls.

A quick analysis by MediaNama of Twitter on Thursday afternoon showed that there were more at least 10 such tweets that were put out since morning by family members of patients, volunteers or just citizens who were looking to amplify SOS tweets. The details include patient name, phone number, Aadhaar number, hospital name where the patient is in and so on. Most of the requests were for Remdesivir injections, blood plasma, or hospital beds.

Social media users are also uploading not just Aadhar  numbers but also images of the Aadhar hardcopy.

The Unique Identification Data Authority of India (UIDAI) in 2018 had asked citizens to take due precautions while sharing personal information such as Aadhaar on the internet. In a statement UIDAI had said, “People share their personal information, including Aadhaar on internet, to some or other service provider or vendor to get the services and when they put their details on internet they should take due precautions as required in any digital activities.”

When MediaNama contacted one of the numbers given in such tweets along with their Aadhaar number, the responder said that the SOS was for their relative. Upon telling the person that it may not be very safe to share their Aadhaar number along with other details on social networking websites, the persons said that he was not aware of the same, and that he would delete it immediately.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

At the end of the conversation, the person requested the MediaNama reporter if he had access to Remdesivir injections. “I have got one injection, but I need five more,” the person requested.

Publishing Aadhaar in public platforms may lead to identity theft

The security of Aadhaar data and citizen privacy have been under question for a long time. Explaining how, in this case, the published Aadhaar may be misused, independent security researcher Srinivas Kodali said, “People are desperate for help and are publishing details such as Aadhar to show they genuinely need medicines. However, there may be fraudsters who might be buying it and selling them in black markets. This could also lead to identity theft, and could lead the person to situations which may be out of his control.”

Similarly security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia said, “Personal details like name, mobile number etc with Aadhaar Number might put you in risk. Fraudsters may use these information in many ways. They can create fake identity and later use it in many ways.” Rajaharia explained that with images available on Twitter and their Aadhaar number, fraudsters can use image altering softwares to create fake Aadhaar cards and hence perpetrating a identitiy theft.

In fact in 2018, the then TRAI Chairman RS Sharma, who is now the National Health Authority CEO and was earlier also the UIDAI chairman had published his Aadhar number in response to a challenge. Following that users on Twitter were able to dig up his mobile numbers, Gmail and Yahoo addresses, physical address date of birth and even his frequent flyer number. Users were also able to identify that he uses an iPhone and sent him money using UPI payments.

Many misusing information from SOS updates

Over the last few days there has been a huge surge on social media networking websites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for access to hospital beds, Covid-19 medication, and blood plasma. The details include phone numbers and so on.

Several netizens have come up and said that they were being bombarded with frivolous calls and even harassed in some cases. Such a case of abuse was recorded in a Vice India report recently where in a woman from Mumbai, who had put out an emergency request on Twitter, received obscene photos from men and got calls asking her if she was single.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Also read

Update (4.22 pm, April 30): Added redacted screenshot of a user uploading images of a person’s Aadhar

Written By

Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

News

By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali A little less than a year since their release, the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is being amended....

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ