New Delhi, July 31: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman R S Sharma's open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers sparked a fresh debate over security and vulnerabilities of the system. Putting forward his case on disclosing his Aadhaar number, Sharma on Tuesday wrote a piece in which he explains that revelation didn't harm him in any way.
"Lately I have been concerned about the sustained campaign against Aadhaar, in which the modus operandi is scaremongering. It has made people hesitant in sharing their Aadhaar details for accessing legitimate services," Sharma wrote in opening paras. The TRAI chief said that he shared his Aadhaar number to put an end to debates on privacy concerns.
"One Twitter user challenged me to publish my Aadhaar details if I had so much trust in the system. I thought about it and decided I should have the courage to act on my belief. While I am an impulsive person at times, this tweet was not an impulsive one," Sharma wrote. He then addressed his well-wishers, the general public and hackers.
"I wanted to prove the larger point that Aadhaar is designed in such a way that it cannot cause harm to the holder, but only empowers him or her," he said while addressing his well-wishers. To the general public, Sharma said Aadhaar empowerd millions of people who get subsidies into their account or obtain other benefits.
He said that people running campaign against Aadhaar have vested interests. "Widespread adoption of Aadhaar has started affecting those who want to game the system for tax evasion, benami properties and other such activities. By creating a scare, their objective is to discourage people from sharing the Aadhaar number, thus allowing the vested interests to continue to play as before," Sharma wrote.
The TRAI chief repeated what the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said about the 'leaked' personal details of Sharma follwoing his Aadhaar challenge. Sharma said hackers accessed some of his personal details from Google. Hackers unsuccefully attempted to hack his account, Sharma alleged.
"Finally, to the so-called hackers who actually challenged me, rather than the other way around: You have found information about me that other users could have obtained by a determined Google search without the benefit of knowing the Aadhaar number," Sharma wrote in the article, which is published in the Indian Express.
"Having failed to penetrate the UIDAI’s system, you have tried to hack my email accounts (unsuccessfully) and to subscribe me to a large number of services. Many of these services take reasonable precautions and have sent me innumerable OTPs in their attempt to authenticate my ID. That’s been a waste on their part and a waste of my time," he added.
To hackers who deposited Rs 1 to his bank account, Sharma replied: "If you define crediting a rupee to an account as hacking, well more people might be happy to be hacked". "I hope this challenge would put an end to the scaremongering so that the people of India, for whom this infrastructure was built, can benefit from the technology and go about their lives in peace," he concluded.