Aadhaar is secure, assures Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics and IT

With government pushing Aadhaar Pay platform, Ravi Shankar addressed security concerns.

The national identification system, Aadhaar, recently came under the scanner for privacy concerns. After Aadhaar details of certain cricketers were shared on Twitter, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wife Sakshi had raised the issue with Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics and IT. Responding to her query, Prasad said Aadhaar is secure. However, the minister addressed the security concerns around Aadhaar in an interview with the Economic Times.

According to Prasad, Aadhaar follows stringent security norms laid down by the Aadhaar Act, passed in March 2016. He added that the rules and norms pertaining to Aadhaar are more stringent than those of the phone tapping principles laid down by the Supreme Court. However, he refrained from mentioning the exact security measures taken to ensure data collected and stored is safe from prying eyes.

The onus of security in this case seems to fall on the user. As mentioned by Prasad, the government will initiate a new Sensitization Program and advise individuals to refrain from sharing Aadhaar details with anyone. For institutions utilising Aadhaar-based verification, care must be ensured that data collected is not stored or misused in any manner.

With the impending launch of Aadhaar Pay, security concerns has risen significantly. As per the Aadhaar Pay policy, not all user details can be collected. The app only permits institutions to collect user name, address and birthdate for registration. Verification can be done through biometrics – but the data cannot be stored. The Aadhaar Database is not informed of the nature of transaction and the purpose of the system is to only authenticate transactions.

Aadhaar, though not mandated by the Supreme Court is utilized extensively by the government for multiple payment purposes. Aadhaar is now mandatory for paying Income Tax. With concerns related to Aadhaar on the rise, there is still no clarity on the security measures used by the government to protect the data of 113 crore Indians enrolled on Aadhaar. The minister added, “As far as specifically Aadhaar system is concerned, it is safe, it is secure, it is robust with respect to privacy and if anybody breaches, he can suffer criminal consequences.”

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