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Aadhaar does not violate privacy, happy with SC judgment: First UIDAI chief executive RS Sharma

RS Sharma was the director general of UIDAI from 2009 to 2013 before he moved on to the role of the chief secretary of Jharkhand and then served as a secretary in the central government. He is currently the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

india Updated: Sep 26, 2018 23:31 IST
Nakul Sridhar
Nakul Sridhar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aadhaar,privacy,UIDAI
RS Sharma kicked up a storm in late July, when he published his 12-digit unique number on Twitter challenging anybody to cause ‘harm’ to him with the ‘mere knowledge of Aadhaar number’.(HT File Photo)

The first chief executive of the Aadhaar-issuing body Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), RS Sharma, said on Wednesday he was happy with the Supreme Court judgment, and reiterated that the unique identity card project does not violate privacy.

Sharma was the director general of UIDAI from 2009 to 2013 before he moved on to the role of the chief secretary of Jharkhand and then served as a secretary in the central government. He is currently the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

“This is a project with which I was personally involved as CEO for the first four years, so I feel happy that the objective with which we had begun — which is essentially to provide an inclusive and unique identity to every resident of the country — that reason has been upheld,” he said.

Sharma distanced himself from the debate on the government making Aadhaar mandatory for various services. “Let’s look at Aadhaar in two parts: One, the infrastructure, the data storage, de-duplication and authorisation process itself is internal and inherent to the ID infrastructure, and we did that. The second part, linking or seeding to ensure that there are various kinds of transfers taking place,” he said. “Those things will continue to develop, as they are application-based issues. I’m not commenting more on that.”

Sharma kicked up a storm in late July, when he published his 12-digit unique number on Twitter, saying “I challenge anybody to cause harm to me with the mere knowledge of my Aadhaar number.” While several Twitter users published details such as his bank account number, phone number, frequent flyer number, personal email, and so on, it was not made clear that the details were gleaned specifically using his Aadhaar details. Some users claimed to have prepared a fake Aadhaar ID card and have used it as a hard copy of proof of identification.

Sharma had come under criticism from UIDAI and privacy experts for throwing such a challenge. He said he threw the challenge to allay fears against the 12-digit number’s susceptibility to cause personal harm.

“Aadhaar is basically an identity infrastructure which can be plugged into any domain. It is the government’s policy issue whether to link it or not,” Sharma said on Wednesday.

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 23:31 IST