A worried Airtel client took to Twitter to voice her surprise about suspicious activity related to her Aadhaar amount after she realised the nine phone numbers were verified using her number.
The most important point here is that she didn’t know about any of the other nine telephone numbers connected to her Aadhaar number along with the linking was performed with no knowledge.
Official Twitter handle of Aadhaar, @UIDAI responded to her criticism by saying that since she is aware of the excess connections, she can lodge a complaint against the telecom company (Airtel in this case) into Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell of Department of Telecom (DOT) “for fraudulently issuing SIM”.
The answer by UIDAI continued to add the telecom company must provide the evidence about how and if the other mobile numbers were linked into this Aadhaar number. If it fails to do so then the company should face action for the “fraudulent” act.
As stated by the UIDAI reaction, in the “earlier system”, it wasn’t possible to check about “how many hundred SIM cards” were issued under the details of one person without “their knowledge”.
Other users began reacting to this thread by asking a vast array of queries and even possible tips about how best to curb the dilemma of misuse of Aadhaar and Aadhaar-based authentication.
UIDAI posted the response of how users may assess their “Aadhaar authentication history” about the Aadhaar website for a number of the queries, regardless the context of the question.
The official Twitter manage of Bharti Airtel responded to this thread by adding that they want to check at the situation to ensure it is fixed. They asked @PRIYARD, the user that issued the complaint in the first place to send them her Airtel amount (in question) so they could assist her. After almost about a week, the user issued an update saying that based on Airtel, no Aadhaar information was stolen or leaked.
Airtel claims there was “software coding glitch” that Airtel was hoping to mend and her Aadhaar amount was only linked to a mobile link on her name.
Just last month, Airtel was found to use the Aadhaar-eKYC established SIM verification process to open payments banks account for its subscribers with no knowledge. UIDAI has barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM confirmation of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as e-KYC of obligations bank clients.