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Scared about Aadhaar linking over data breach threat? Do not fall for these 6 myths

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From: IndiaToday By: Reuters Published at: December 7, 2017
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The Centre may have agreed to extend the deadline for mandatory Aadhaar linking till March 31 next year but there is still no way you can escape it.

Most people are confused about Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number, with doubts being raised about its data security system. To make matters worse, myths and half-truths on Aadhaar are doing the rounds.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues the 12-digit Aadhaar number, is trying to clear some of the confusion by dispelling the myths associated with Aadhaar.

MYTH 1: Aadhaar database can be hacked and vital information can be leaked.

FACT: A few weeks ago, UIDAI in response to an RTI query said that 200 central and state government websites publicly displayed details of Aadhaar beneficiaries.

The UIDAI, however, maintains that reports of data leak are false. According to the Aadhaar-issuing agency, some Central and state government agencies are putting up details of beneficiaries through a search menu as required under the RTI Act. The UIDAI says restrictions are in place to ensure Aadhaar number and bank account details are not published.

In this particular instance, when it was brought to the agencies' notice that Aadhaar numbers and personal details of beneficiaries were put up publicly, the same was removed immediately.

UIDAI maintains that biometrics were never displayed and said that it will be incorrect to say that Aadhaar was breached.

MYTH 2: Aadhaar will be used to track me.

FACT: According to UIDAI, the Aadhaar Act provides that no agency will be able to track an individual through Aadhaar. An attempt to do so is an offence under the Aaddhar Act.

MYTH 3: People without Aadhaar are being denied of subsidies and benefits under various welfare schemes.

FACT: Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act makes it clear that the government can ask beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes to provide their Aadhaar numbers. If the beneficiary does not have an Aadhaar number, he or she is required to enrol for one. However, till the time the person does not get an Aadhaar number, he or she will not be denied of the benefits of social welfare schemes.

MYTH 4: Aadhaar database is poorly verified.

FACT: The agencies involved with enrolment are empanelled by the UIDAI. Also, Aadhaar enrolmnent is done through customised software which is developed and provided by the UIDAI. At the time of enrolment, the captured data is encrypted and cannot be read by anyone but the UIDAI server.

MYTH 5: I gave my fingerprints to a telecom company for getting a SIM card and fear my biometrics can be used by the company in future.

FACT: The telecom company CANNOT store your biometrics at its end and has to send the encrypted biometrics to UIDAI immediately. Under the Aadhaar Act, storing someone's biometrics is a punishable crime with imprisonment up to three years.

MYTH 6: I shared my Aadhaar number on a social platform and now anyone can steal my identity.

FACT: Aadhaar number, bank account number and mobile numbers are not secret but sensitive personal identity information. It is your PIN and passwords that are secret numbers and should not be shared with anyone.

When you write a cheque to someone, it carries your bank account number and it is wrong to assume that a person can hack your account using that number.

That said, you should try and not share your bank account numbers, your Aadhaar number on a social media platform.

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