The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has responded to the helpline number appearing in smartphones. The Aadhaar body said it has now asked any device maker or service provider to include its toll-free number on mobile phones and it even clarified that the number 1800-300-1947 appearing in the contact list of Android phones is an "outdated and invalid" helpline number. Distancing itself from the backlash it faced on social media over the default inclusion of '1800-300-1947' in the contact list of Android phones, the Unique Identification Authority of India said in a statement that, "...the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI toll free number and some vested interests are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public".
The UIDAI's valid toll-free number is 1947, which is functional for more than the last two years, it said. "UIDAI has reiterated that it has not asked or advised anyone including any telecom service providers or mobile manufacturers or Android to include 18003001947 or 1947 in the default list of public service numbers," the statement added and it's reported by PTI.
Referring to the reports on the automatic inclusion of the UIDAI's "outdated and invalid" helpline number 1800-300-1947 in phone's contact list, the Aadhaar-issuing body said that it "has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever".
Amid heightened privacy concerns, many on social media have questioned how the UIDAI helpline number had crept into their smartphone contact list.
Responding to the same, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) which represents telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular stated: “The inclusion of a certain unknown number in the phonebooks of various mobile handsets is not from any telecom service provider.”
Yesterday, French security expert who goes under the pseudonym Elliot Alderson and describes himself as "worst nightmare" of the UIDAI had tweeted, "Hi @UIDAI, Many people, with different provider, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default and so without their knowledge. Can you explain why?"
A vigilante hacker who uses the handle @fs0c131y on Twitter, Elliot Alderson was vocal during the recent Aadhaar dare thrown by Trai chief R S Sharma and has, in the past, also revealed purportedly flaws in Aadhaar system.