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New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday clarified that there has not been any breach in the Aadhaar database and the personal data of citizens, including biometric information, is safe and secure.

The clarification comes in response to a news report titled ‘Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to a billion Aadhaar details’ published in The Tribune on Thursday. The report claims that a WhatsApp group sold all Aadhaar data available with UIDAI for a sum of Rs500.

UIDAI maintained that the reported case appeared to be an instance of misuse of the grievance redressal search facility. As UIDAI maintains complete logs and traceability of the facility, legal action including lodging of FIR against the persons involved in the case is being undertaken.

UIDAI clarified in a press statement that displayed demographic information cannot be misused; it would need to be paired with an individual’s biometrics.

There are more than 1.19 billion Aadhaar card holders in the country.

“If it is not a data breach, then this means that some people who have legitimate access to the data are selling it illegitimately. This poses a greater problem," said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bengaluru-based think tank.

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