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How UIDAI Contact Got to Your Phone And How You Can Delete it

A statement from Google said that it is to blame for the mysterious appearance of an outdated Aadhaar helpline number in the contact lists of phones, and clarified that it wasn’t an unauthorised breach of the Android devices.

News18 Tech

Updated:August 4, 2018, 12:00 PM IST
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How UIDAI Contact Got to Your Phone And How You Can Delete it
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On Friday, smartphone users across the country started noticing a UIDAI number saved in their contact list. The issue came to light after French security expert, Elliot Alderson, asked UIDAI how the helpline number was predefined in the contact list by default in phones of people, with different providers, with and without an Aadhaar card and without the mAadhaar app installed. Twitter was alive again with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

UIDAI's response came after people on social media questioned why the number was being saved by default in people’s contact list on Android phones. "It is emphasised that the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI toll-free number and some vested interest are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public. Our valid toll free number is 1947 which is functional for more than the last two years," a UIDAI statement said.

On Friday, A statement from Google said that it is to blame for the mysterious appearance of an outdated Aadhaar helpline number in the contact lists of phones, and clarified that it wasn’t an unauthorised breach of the Android devices. “Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since. Since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device,” a statement from Google said.

Google's admission would come as a massive relief for not just jittery phone users but for UIDAI which had faced criticism all of Friday and even said it had not asked any handset manufacturer to add their toll-free number.

But, in reality check not only on Android, the UIDAI number is also visible on the iOS devices. We checked on several iPhones to find the number on almost all of them. Interestingly the number was found on iPhones with iOS 11.4.1 while it was not seen on those with iOS 11.0.2. We checked for the numbers on a JioPhone and did not find either the new or the old UIDAI number on it.

It is quite simple to remove the contact from your phone. Delete the contact from the phone, and if you have multiple phones synced with the same Google Contacts, do double check if they have been deleted from all phones and this does not pose any risk to the data in the phone.

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