Aadhaar safety:TRAI chief throws challenge, French expert ‘leaks’ his data
New Delhi, July 29: An all-out war erupted on Twitter after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R S Sharma on Saturday disclosed his Aadhaar number on the microblogging site and challenged everyone to show how mere knowledge of the unique number could be used to harm him, triggering a deluge of tweets that claimed to disclose his personal details — from PAN to mobile number.
The challenge by Sharma evoked an immediate response from the Twitterati, with some users claiming to have dug up his mobile number, photographs, residential address, date of birth and even chat threads using the information, while others warned him about the perils of throwing such a dare on the social media platform.
While much of the information that was dug out might already be in the public domain, the Trai official did not verify whether the details pertaining to his PAN were indeed correct.
When contacted by PTI earlier in the evening, Sharma declined to make any detailed comment on the matter by saying, “Let the challenge run for some time”.
“My Aadhaar number is 7621 7768 2740. Now I give this challenge to you: Show me one concrete example where you can do any harm to me,” tweeted Sharma, whose tenure ends on August 9.
A Twitter user had earlier asked Sharma to “walk your talk” after the Trai chief tweeted his interview with an online portal in which he strongly defended Aadhaar and rejected apprehensions that one billion Aadhaar accounts were vulnerable.
He said there had not been a single instance of data being breached and had there been one, the entire Aadhaar database would have been vulnerable.
A French security expert, who goes by the nickname Elliot Alderson and uses the Twitter handle “@fs0c131y”, in a series of tweets caused ripples on social media.
Within hours of the Trai chairman tweeting his Aadhaar number, Anderson replied to Sharma: “The phone number linked to this #Aadhaar number is 9958587977.”
“According to an official @nicmeity circular, this phone number is the number of your secretary,” Anderson wrote and posted a link to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology circular.
The security researcher also posted a picture of Sharma with a portion of it blackened. “I supposed this is your wife or daughter next to you.”
Anderson, who is known to have revealed security loopholes in the Aadhaar data system, also posted screenshots of Sharma’s leaked details with key areas blackened and hidden.
One of the screenshots even carried his PAN details. But that was also hidden.
Alderson wrote, “People managed to get your personal address, dob (date of birth) and your alternate phone number. I stop here, I hope you will understand why make your #Aadhaar number public is not a good idea.”