UIDAI: Illegal access to Aadhaar data can land you in jail



NEW DELHI: Anyone accessing Aadhaar data without having the authority to do so could land in jail for up to 10 years, as the Narendra Modi government fortifies the defence against privacy risks to the biometric information collected under the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project.

The government has also tasked the cabinet secretary with spearheading the framing of a strategy to bring maximum services under the ambit of Aadhaar.

To address the privacy concerns surrounding the UIDAI project, whose mandatory application for government services has been challenged in the Supreme Court, the Centre has passed an order on December 21 designating UIDAI's Central Identities Data Repository facilities as well as the "Information Assets, Logistics Infrastructure and Dependencies" installed at all UIDAI locations to be a "Protected System" under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This means, as per the order seen by ET, anyone other than authorised personnel accessing the UIDAI systems, or even making an attempt, would face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is said to have further instructed his top bureaucrats to brainstorm on how to leverage Aadhaar's use for maximum government services. Devendra Chaudhary, secretary at the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), on Wednesday said the PM, in his PRAGATI meeting with bureaucrats in November, reviewed the use of Aadhaar in government services. "In the coming times, we have to plan maximum government services through the Aadhaar platform...that is the PM's vision. 

The cabinet secretary has approved that a group of officers will be meeting in the first week of January to strategise on how to take this issue forward," Chaudhary said at a DARPG conference at industry body Ficci 

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