Google Clears The Mystery Over UIDAI Number In Android Phones; Says Sorry!
Claims of data privacy hack and state surveillance were raised, which proved otherwise.
Since last few days, a strange paranoia had gripped the entire nation, over ‘sudden’ appearance of UIDAI helpline number in the address books of some Android smartphones.
Interestingly, that number is not even UIDAI’s official helpline number!
People started blaming UIDAI for forcefully inserting the number into their smartphones, and doubts were raised over ‘state sponsored surveillance’ and more such conspiracy theories.
However, in the end, the truth was revealed.
Mysterious UIDAI Helpline Number in Your Smartphone?
The matter started picking traction after French security expert Elliot Alderson raised this concern via Tweet, addressed to UIDAI.
Note here, that Elliot Alderson is the same person who had accepted TRAI Chairman RS Sharma’s Aadhaar hack challenge, and had posted his publicly available information on Twitter.
Soon, several people started claiming that the UIDAI helpline is visible in their address book as well, and the matter escalated.
Such was the heat generated that UIDAI had to come out, and assure everyone that they haven’t inserted any helpline number in any Android phone, not they have asked any telecom operator to do so.
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.
— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) August 3, 2018
They also said that the number which is visible in some Android phone users: 18003001947, is not a valid helpline number anyone.
But still, a storm over data privacy had erupted.
Google: We Are Responsible, And We Are Sorry
Yesterday, Google came out, and admitted that UIDAI’s then helpline number: 18003001947 was inserted by them, and they said sorry for that.
As per a statement issued, Google said that in 2016, they had hard-coded UIDAI’s helpline number in the SetUp wizard of the Android release, meant for OEMs (manufacturers of smartphone).
Now, as this number was saved in the address book, it was carried over to other phones via SIM card, when the handset was changed.
They said that the number can be deleted anytime a user wants.
And, they also said sorry.
The statement said: “We are sorry for any concern that this might have caused, and would like to assure everyone that this is not a situation of an unauthorised access of their Android devices. Users can manually delete the number from their devices. “
Immediately after this statement came out, COAI, a powerful lobby of telecom operators issued a statement saying that none of the telecom operators had inserted UIDAI number into any smartphone.
Did you find UIDAI’s old helpline number in your smartphone? What was your reaction? Do let us know by commenting right here!