Nandan Nilekani, the first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, has consistently maintained that there are no security flaws in the system that administers Aadhaar – the 12-digit identification number that the Indian government wants all residents to obtain. Over the last few months, the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre has embarked on a massive expansion of the use of Aadhaar, virtually making possession of the number compulsory to access a variety of government services. It even went to the extent of making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns.
This is in direct violation of Supreme Court directives, which has said that possessing an Aadhaar could not be made a condition for Indians to receive social welfare benefits.
As this debate proceeds, the country on Monday woke up to the news of yet another major leak of Aadhaar data. The Hindustan Times reported that the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security published the personal information of about 1.4 million people on its website: names, Aadhaar numbers and bank account details. This was perhaps one of the largest information leaks in recent times, adding to this long list of Aadhaar data breaches.