Since a few days, certain reports in the media have claimed that a research paper backed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has shorted Aadhaar’s security credentials by claiming that its database is open to attack from cyber criminals.
One such media report was carried by leftists propaganda blog Scroll, which in its headline, termed the Aadhaar database as a single target for cyber criminals. As per the report, a think tank affiliated with the RBI had highlighted Aadhaar’s security concerns and its authentication quality. Apart from this, the paper also appeared to have claimed that Aadhaar has ‘unclear financial benefits’.
Predictably such sensational damnation of the Aadhaar resulted in quite a flutter, which was intensified when it appeared that someone associated with the RBI had made such claims. Those outraging included prominent AAP supporters and journalists:
A scathing report. Will the Govt to listen to the RBI & plug loopholes? “Any attack on UIDAI data can cripple Indian businesses & administration and would result in a huge loss to the country’s economy and the privacy of its citizens” https://t.co/5bg8I36mGE
— Meera Sanyal (@meerasanyal) January 9, 2018
Aadhaar Data Easy Prey For Cyber Criminals, Says RBI Study https://t.co/xviN6QmemJ
— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) January 10, 2018
As a result of the whole commotion, the RBI has now come up with a clarification of sorts.
As per reports, the RBI has now claimed that neither RBI nor any of its researchers were connected with the study and the author S Ananth is not a regular faculty of IDRBT. RBI has also claimed that Ananth’s assertions do not represent the views of either IDRBT or RBI.
What is notable, is that after splashing this news on the front pages, Times Of India buried the clarification issued by RBI on the 10th page, as observed by Sunil Jain, Managing Editor of Financial Express.
— Sunil Jain (@thesuniljain) January 11, 2018
These ‘findings’, which the RBI has now distanced itself from, were published in an October 2017 paper [PDF] by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), which is affiliated to the RBI.
One of the authors of the paper was Dr. S Ananth who is an adjunct faculty with that institute, who seems to have made the more sensational claims regarding privacy and cyber-security.
As seen above, Ananth claimed that Aadhaar has resulted in becoming a readily available single target for cyber criminals and India’s external enemies. He further claimed that, such attack on Aadhaar data might cripple Indian businesses and the loss to the economy as a result would be incalculable:
The clarification, that comes after these “findings” were published in Main Stream Media as that of the RBI, has been via a statement by both the IDRBT and the RBI. It remains to be seen whether either parties would now come up with a counter of sorts to Ananth’s claims which might assuage the fears of various Indian citizens regarding the matter.