Oops! Punjab govt leaks over 20,000 Aadhaar numbers on its website
The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) website listed the Aadhaar numbers of 20,100 people, along with holders' names and their fathers' name.
Aadhaar numbers of over 20,000 people who applied for low-cost housing in Ludhiana ad Jagraon were leaked on a government website in Punjab on Tuesday, reports Hindustan Times.
The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) website listed the Aadhaar numbers of 20,100 people, along with holders' names and their fathers' name. According to the report, the listed people had applied for economically weaker section (EWS) houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) programme, and of those who won the draw.
In the past few years, Aadhaar has been gaining popularity among the government schemes for several benefits as it has become compulsory to link the 12-digit unique identity with other government identity cards like PAN card, passport and official documents.
The leak comes in at a time when the Supreme Court is mulling whether, or not, Aadhaar violates the citizen's right to privacy as many experts have criticized the unique ID proof as being a threat to one's privacy.
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Even though the officials removed the links from the website on Monday after Hindustan Times reported the blunder to them, the leak is a breach of law. The public display of Aadhaar numbers and biometric information is prohibited under the Section 29 (4) of the Aadhaar Act.
However, it is not the first time that the Aadhaar data was made public. In April, a government website in Jharkhand accidentally displayed the Aadhaar details of lakhs of pensioners due to an error in the website. The details of their names, addresses and bank accounts were also made public.
The previous incident had forced the Centre to take various steps to impose new security measures to encrypt Aadhaar data on state websites.
Nevertheless, the Punjab incident has further raised questions on the data security system across the country as the exposure of sensitive data poses consistent threat to an individual's privacy.District officials from grievances redressal committee Satish Thaman had told Hindustan Times that publishing of Aadhaar numbers could be a grave threat to the resident's privacy as Aadhaar information could be misused.