'Data breach issue being blown out of proportion'
New Delhi: Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday that fingerprint and iris data stored in the Aadhaar system are safe and secure and cannot be breached even by "billions of efforts".
Speaking at an event of Delhi School of Economics, he showed his Aadhaar card to audiences and said: "The (Aadhaar) system contains my fingerprint, and iris kept in safe and secure encrypted form which cannot be broken even by billions of efforts. That is an Indian technology."
The comments from Prasad come at a time when there have been reports of an alleged data breach of Aadhaar subscribers.
The minister said that World Bank had appreciated the Aadhaar technology for inclusion which costs USD 1 (Rs 63.66) only but saved Rs 57,000 crore of public money.
"Indian technology is today finding resonance. Poor are very happy with Aadhaar," Prasad said.
He said that by linking teachers with Aadhaar around 80,000 fake teachers have been identified by the government.
Besides, 80 crore bank accounts have been linked with Aadhaar.
"While we respect data privacy, it should be done, but under the garb of privacy you cannot kill innovation," Prasad said.
Based on data analysis, the government was able to detect that post-demonetisation 1.5 lakh people deposited 5 lakh crore, and 17,000 companies deposited Rs 35,000 crore out of Rs 14 lakh crore cash that flowed into banks, he said, adding that it also struck out over 2.5 lakh companies which operated only during the period of demonetisation.
According to the official data, 17.73 lakh taxmen have identified suspicious cases involving Rs 3.68 trillion (Rs 3.68 lakh crore) in 23.22 lakh bank accounts post demonetisation. Responses from 11.8 lakh people for 16.92 lakh bank accounts had been received by the department online.
The tax department has combed as many as 18 lakh people who had deposited junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes of over Rs 2.5 lakh each post demonetisation.
Prasad said that data should be made available for innovation and utility, but data should be anonymous.
Meanwhile, former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani said there was an "orchestrated campaign" to malign Aadhaar.
The former UIDAI chief said it had introduced a virtual identification for ID holders so that the actual number need not be shared by the people to authenticate their identity. Simultaneously, it has further regulated the storage of the Aadhaar number within various databases, he added.
A new move to secure Aadhaar, in which a randomly-generated 16-digit temporary number can be shared instead of the biometric ID, will be opposed in the Supreme Court by petitioners who are fighting a case against the system.
"The new virtual ID is untested and unworkable. The UIDAI is trying to rectify technical breach by its untested technology," said a petitioner, adding, "In the hearing next week, we will oppose it tooth and nail."