20,000 Aadhaar numbers leaked on Punjab govt website

Updated on Aug 08, 2017 11:29 PM IST

Ludhiana’s urban development website publishes list of those who applied for low-cost houses, displaying their names, their father’s name and their Aadhaar numbers. Links were removed later but PDF files remained online on Tuesday, a day after being pointed out.

A screenshot of the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority website, where the Aadhaar numbers were published. The Aadhaar act makes it illegal for the 12-digit numbers of the biometric details to be published publicly.
A screenshot of the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority website, where the Aadhaar numbers were published. The Aadhaar act makes it illegal for the 12-digit numbers of the biometric details to be published publicly.
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By

A Punjab government website exposed the Aadhaar numbers of more than 20,000 people who applied for low-cost housing in Ludhiana and Jagraon, the latest in a string of blunders by administrative officials that jeopardise citizen privacy.

Aadhaar, a 12-digit identity number, is linked to a person’s biometric details and has become increasingly mandatory for government services. Experts and activists have raised concerns over the risks to privacy it poses, and believe the country’s lackadaisical cyber security standards can put confidential information at risk of crimes such as identity theft.

India’s Supreme Court is currently in the process of determining whether the Aadhaar programme violates rights to privacy.

Around 20,100 Aadhaar numbers, the names of the people it belonged to and their father’s name were published on Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) website. The details were published as lists of applicants for EWS houses (homes for people from economically weaker sections) under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) programme, and of those who won the draw.

It was unclear how long the lists were up, but officials removed links leading to them on Monday when Hindustan Times brought it to their attention. The lists, while removed from the homepage, stayed online on the GLADA server and could be accessed by anyone who had the direct link.

According to Section 29 (4) of the Aadhaar Act, no Aadhaar number or core biometric information can be published, displayed or posted publicly, except for specified purposes.

District officials said the leak posed a threat to privacy. “If any government department has published a list of applicants with their Aadhaar numbers, their information can get leaked. It is a grave threat to the privacy of residents as Aadhaar information can be misused,” said Satish Thaman, member, Ludhiana district (west sub-division) grievances redressal committee.

Earlier, GLADA officials were unaware of how the Aadhaar numbers ended up online. “I will look into the matter,” additional chief administrator (ACA) Neeru Katyal Gupta said.

GLADA chief administrator Parminder Singh Gill said, “I have spoken to the official concerned who informed me that no Aadhaar card number was uploaded on the website. The GLADA’s website is being operated at the PUDA (Punjab Urban Development Authority) headquarters in Mohali. We are trying to contact the headquarters in this regard.”

Shortly afterwards, GLADA removed the links to both lists.

In April, more than a million Aadhaar numbers were leaked by a Jharkhand government website. Officials involved were similarly unaware of how the data made its way onto the public domain, prompting experts to point to a systemic flaw in India’s e-governance model.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Dr Sunil Sanon with the Khadi national flag presented to him by the Jaiprakash Agarwal family who got it from Mahatma Gandhi in 1946 during his visit to Mussoorie. (HT Photo)

    Tricolour gifted by Mahatma Gandhi preserved with utmost care by Mussoorie duo

    It has not been a matter of concern for a doctor duo, who has made it a point to preserve the Khadi Tricolour that was gifted to them by a Delhi-based family, which was passed down to them directly from Mahatma Gandhi. The prized gift became part of their lives when they were Gandhi's ardent followers and instrumental in conducting his prayer meetings whenever he visited Mussoorie.

  • Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar reminded Bima Bharti that she was twice made a minister “though she does not know how to speak and read”. (HT File/Santosh Kumar)

    ‘Sack minister or I quit’: JDU MLA’s public message to Nitish Kumar. He responds

    Janata Dal-United (JDU) legislator Bima Bharti on Thursday threatened to resign from the assembly and the party if chief minister Nitish Kumar doesn't drop food minister Leshi Singh from his cabinet, saying she was involved in extortion, murder and anti-party activities. She also blamed Leshi Singh for the defeat of her daughter in the district board elections. Bima Bharti represents Rupauli assembly segment; Leshi Singh is the legislator from the adjoining seat, Dhamdaha.

  • Finally, the kid turned the corner and went his way. The couple settled down to take a well-deserved break. My heart went out to these parents who like most human parents had no idea about parenting skills but only an intuition to guide them at being good parents. (HT Photo)

    Parenting: An intuitive skill in all creations

    The toughest job on earth is parenting. Despite there being tomes written about the skill, parenting is mostly intuitive. But at the end of the day, you are responsible for the physical, emotional and mental development of your child. For most parents, parenting is also about providing a safe environment for children. We go out of the way to protect our little ones.

  • Available at domestic arrival, this facility can be availed at hourly basis at the Chennai airport.

    Sleepzo: Now, you can take a quick nap at this Indian airport | Details here

    In its bid to make transit travelers more comfortable while waiting for their flights, the Chennai airport has launched its sleeping facility called 'Sleepzo'. The Airports Authority of India shared information about these sleeping capsules come with various amenities. Available at domestic arrival, this facility can be availed on an hourly basis at the Chennai airport. The video tweeted by Airports Authority of India shows compact, four sleeping pods being inaugurated.

  • Deputy CM said the Delhi government was clueless over developments in the Rohingyas reported resettlement. (File image)

    ‘If not AAP or Centre...’: Sisodia writes to Amit Shah on Rohingyas row

    Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday wrote to union home minister Amit Shah urging him to clarify the Centre's stand on Rohingya refugees in the national Capital and sought action against officials in the central and Delhi government for “secretly planning” to shift them to flats in outer Delhi locality.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now