Gemalto, a digital security firm, has withdrawn a report which claimed that data breach incidences in India were the second-largest in the world on account of compromise in the Aadhaar database.
In a statement released by the company CEO Philippe Vallee, Gemalto apologised for the erroneous report and press release. “Gemalto profusely regrets on its Breach Level Index Report 2018 and the subsequent press release issued in India on 15th October where it has by mistake taken into account an unverified news article about alleged Aadhaar data breach.”
The release further stated, “All concerned parties should take note that we have not been able to find any verified or unsubstantiated data breach of Aadhaar data. Gemalto has caused prejudices in the minds of the general public and we deeply regret it. We never intended to malign Aadhaar, India’s prestigious identity mission project.”
In the report which has now been withdraw, Gemalto claimed there were 945 data breaches which led to 4.5 billion data records being compromised worldwide. Out of which, over one billion data records have been exposed in India due to the breach in the Aadhaar database.
Concerns on Aadhaar security
There have been numerous concerns about the safety of Aadhaar security. In September this year, a report by a media outlet said the Aadhaar database was compromised by a software patch that disables critical security features of the software to enrol.
However, it was a report in the Tribune newspaper that first exposed the dangers of the breach to Aadhaar security. The report had stated how demographic data associated with Aadhaar numbers was being sold by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp for as little as Rs 500. Following the report, the UIDAI filed an FIR against the newspaper and the reporter under IPC Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document), as well Section 66 of the IT Act and Section 36/37 of the Aadhaar Act.