While Facebook, faced with a $5.7 Bn US tax bill, was just hit by a ‘Thanos Snap’ that wiped out over $120 Bn of its market value within 24 hrs, with its shares plunging over 20%, Twitter continues to be a Kurukshetra (battleground) for Orwellian discourses.
Trump apart, Aadhaar data security — which has been continuously challenged by hackers and security analysts — is the centre point of many such discourses on Twitter, with Twitterati trolling policymakers and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
However, this time for a change, an Aadhaar challenge was thrown by none other than the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Ram Sewak Sharma. An IAS, IIT-Kanpur and University of California alumnus, Sharma has also served as the director general of the UIDAI and secretary of the department of electronics and information technology (under the ministry of communications and information technology of the Centre) in the past.
Sharma, reacting to a Tweet challenging him to walk his talk by publishing his own Aadhaar number on Twitter if he had trust in the system, actually shared his Aadhaar number and threw a counter challenge asking anyone to harm him in any manner on the basis of this information.
While Twitterati reacted instantly by making Sharma’s mobile number and WhatsApp profile image public, the UIDAI, in a press statement, asserted that even if Sharma had made his Aadhaar public, nobody could actually fetch or mobilise any information that could be directly linked or cooked with his Aadhaar number.
The UIDAI also clarified that any information published on Twitter about the Sharma was not “fetched from the Aadhaar database or UIDAI’s servers.” In fact, it added that this “so-called hacked information” — Sharma’s personal details such as his address, date of birth, photograph, mobile number, email, etc — was already available in the public domain as Sharma has been a public servant for decades. It added that this information was easily available on Google and various other sites through a simple search without Aadhaar number.
The Sharma’s personal details were earlier published by the French security researcher Robert Batiste aka Elliot Alderson and others on Twitter.