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Why is Aadhaar a Problem if Stripping Before White Man Isn't, Asks Union Minister KJ Alphons

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology KJ Alphons defending the Aadhaar on Sunday questioned how the data protection champions submit before the white man, but a “massive revolution” begins when “their own government” asks for data.

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Updated:March 25, 2018, 7:02 PM IST
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Why is Aadhaar a Problem if Stripping Before White Man Isn't, Asks Union Minister KJ Alphons
Union Miinister KJ Alphons in Thiruvananthapuram on March 25, 2017.
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New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology KJ Alphons, defending the Aadhaar on Sunday, questioned how the data protection champions submit before the white man, but a “massive revolution” begins when “their own government” asks for data.

“I filled up to 10 pages for US Visa form. We have absolutely no problem giving our fingerprints and getting body naked before the white man at all. When your own government asks for your name and address there is a massive revolution saying it's intrusion in privacy,” said Alphons.

Alphons further assured people that their data was safe with the government.

“What is given in Aadhaar are just name and address. Your bio-metric data is with UIDAI and let me assure you that it has not been breached, its absolutely secure. We have given authorisation to government agencies to access,” said the minister.

The comment comes in the wake of reports about a fresh data leak of Aadhaar holders. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Saturday refuted such reports and asserted that there has been "absolutely no breach" of its database.

The denial from UIDAI came after ZDNet, a technology news portal, reported that a data leak on a system run by a state-owned utility company can allow access to private information of Aadhaar holders, exposing their names, their unique 12-digit identity numbers and their bank details.

Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the Prime Minister of data breach via his official Narendra Modi app.

“Hi! My name is Narendra Modi. I am India's Prime Minister. When you sign up for my official App, I give all your data to my friends in American companies,” Gandhi tweeted.

The minister rubbished the charge and asked people to not believe such “false stories”.

“You think Prime Minister is going to give your data to a private company! Don't believe such fake stories,” said Alphons.

Earlier this week, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey had made a powerpoint presentation in the Supreme Court to defend the government's ambitious Aadhaar scheme. He had said that breaking Aadhaar encryption may take "more than the age of the universe for the fastest computer on earth."

Aadhaar, with over 1.1 billion users, is the world's biggest database. It has been facing increased scrutiny over privacy concerns following several reported instances of breaches and misuse. The Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions against its constitutional validity.
| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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