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WikiLeaks Hints Aadhaar Data Leak By CIA, Published Secret Docs

After the Supreme Court declared ‘Right To Privacy’ a fundamental right, WikiLeaks alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States might have breached private and sensitive data of Aadhaar Card.

WikiLeaks published a secret document revealing that CIA is using its US-based technology provider ‘Cross Match Technologies’ for cyber bullying and spying that may have stolen Indian Aadhaar Data.

Official Twitter account of WikiLeaks tweeted on Friday: Have CIA spies already stolen #India’s national ID card databse? #aadhaar #biometricarchive.is/R2Hdu#selectio…#modi   

According to WikiLeaks, CIA conducts covert operations under the name of ‘ExpressLane’ that secretly exfiltrate data collection, used to get access to biometric data. Reports claim that the office of technical services (OTS) is a wing of CIA equipped with the biometric collection system, meant to liaison with the services around the globe.

The government officials have refuted the allegations by the WikiLeaks by saying that the data repository is safe under UIDAI. “The reports do not have any basis in fact. Aadhaar data is safely encrypted and is not accessible to any other agency,” official said to The Times of India.

Cross Match Technologies Background

The ‘Cross Match Technologies’ was one of the first handlers and suppliers of biometric devices certified by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the Aadhaar program in India. This company is specialised in developing biometric software for law enforcement and the intelligence community. It hit the headlines in the year 2011 when the Cross Match Technologies’ devices were used by the US Navy Seals to identify Osama Bin Laden during the operation at Abbotabad in Pakistan. 

Previous Companies Under Scanner

Earlier, the possibility of data leak is feared among many experts after UIDAI pooled in ‘L1 Identity Solutions’,’ Satyam-Morpho’ and ‘Accenture’ to roll out the biggest mass surveillance program. L1 Identity Solutions’ top brass are the former Director CIA George Tenet and former Homeland Security deputy secretary Adm James. With its headquarters in Connecticut, this company is one of the biggest defence contractors specialised in facial recognition and biometrics. L1 Identity Solutions and Accenture work in a close affinity to US intelligence agencies. Satyam Morpho has joined US in ‘smart border project’.

Data Leak Crisis Brawls with WikiLeaks Claims

With this accuse on CIA, WikiLeaks has strengthen the vulnerability of Aadhaar data leak. UIDAI has so far spent approximately 5982.62 crores for more than a billion enrolments of Aadhaar Cards. 1615.34 crores have been spent between the financial year 2015-2016. Centre for Internet and Society, Bengaluru-based organization (CIS) has learned that data of more than 130 million Aadhaar card holders has been leaked from four government websites. They are National Social Assistance Programme, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Chandranna Bima Scheme and Daily Online Payments Reports of NREGA. It also includes Bank details and other confidential details of millions of residents.

CIDR- One Database for a Billion data

Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) is a data management and storing agency in India which is initiated for the Aadhaar project. It is regulated by the statutory body of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). This centralised database is probably one of the biggest repositories on this planet.

In 2010, experts had claimed that more than a thousand government sites and portals were attacked more than 4000 times by China alone in one year. In April 2011, 77 million Sony Play stations and digital media delivery service Qriocity were hacked which resulted into a shutdown of the network for a week. The London School of Economics also reported that a central database of vulnerable to hacking and other terrorist and cyber crime activities. Recently Wannacry Ransomware virus hits the globe. More than 99 countries were affected. 

After the major blow to the Center on Right to Privacy front, five bench judges of SC will test the validity of Aadhaar on the yardstick of the privacy as fundamental right. As the cornerstone of the privacy are the fingerprints, Iris scan and the other biometric data, the Centre might be facing implications on the constitutionality of Aadhaar. 

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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