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‘Helpline number in contact list cannot steal data', says UIDAI; Slams those spreading rumours

By Vikas

New Delhi, Aug 4: Amid uproar over old Aadhaar helpline number automatically getting added in some Android phones, the UIDAI on Sunday said data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen just because an outdated helpline number is in the contact list.

UIDAI further lashed out at those involved in spreading rumours and trying to malign the image of Aadhaar when Google has already issued a clarification.

‘Helpline number in contact list cannot steal data, says UIDAI; Slams those spreading rumours

"UIDAI condemns the vested interests who tried to misuse Google's "inadvertent" act as an opportunity to spread rumours and go around fear-mongering against Aadhaar," the authority said in a statement.

Google had on Friday admitted that the number 18003001947 was added by it 'inadvertently' along with police and fire number 112 in 2014 and has since been continuing through sync mechanism.

UIDAI said that it has earlier clarified and emphasised that it has not asked any agency whatsoever to include its helpline number in the mobile phones and also added that merely adding a phone number cannot steal data in the phone.

"Just by a helpline number in a mobile's contact list the data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen. Therefore, there should be no panic to delete the number as no harm will be caused. Rather people may, if they so wish, update it with UIDAI's new helpline number 1947," the authority said.

The UIDAI said rumours being spread on social media to delete helpline number are "totally false propaganda and is nothing but scare-mongering against Aadhaar by vested interests trying to exploit Google's act to spread misinformation about Aadhaar by scaring people."

The Aadhaar custodian said that it expects Google will look into the matter which caused confusion in the minds of people against "India's credible identity system and will exercise due care so that such things are not repeated in future."

The UIDAI said that rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless.

"UIDAI assures that Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure. Therefore, people should stay away from such rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests. They should also not waste their time and time of their near and dear ones by forwarding or circulating such false and baseless rumours on their WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook , etc," the statement said.

It further said that Aadhaar has caused tremendous benefits to our country and helped saved more Rs 90,000 crore by preventing leakage and siphoning of benefits and subsidies meant for poor.

"It (Aadhaar) has empowered 121 crore people of India with a credible and secure identity which can be freely used anywhere, anytime and online. People are able to get their rightful entitlement directly into their bank accounts without any middlemen," the statement said.

It has also helped curb tax evasion, money launderers, benami accounts and shell companies, it added.

For the past few days, several people on social media have accused the UIDAI of breaching the privacy of several citizens, and have uploaded images on Twitter and other platforms of the pre-loaded helpline number.

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