Ola employee was behind Aadhaar data leak: Police

Bengaluru’s Central Crime Branch police, a week after an engineer gained access to the Aadhaar database and extracted confidential details, arrested Abhinav Srivastava, a software development engineer working at Ola’s head office at Koramangala, for the cyber crime.

Srivastava has headed Qarth Technologies, which built a mobile payment app called X-Pay and which was acquired by Ola in March 2016.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had filed a complaint against Srivastava, alleging that he developed a mobile app containing Aadhaar-related information – which is hosted in the National Informatics Centre server – and he illegally used it to support the application.

Screen shots on the website revealed that the programme would show Aadhaar enrolment data after taking a person’s name and UID number as input. “By exposing private information of Indian citizens, Srivastava has committed a very serious crime,” UIDAI said.

Srivastava, a graduate from IIT-Kharagpur, illegally accessed data from an e-hospital server to develop a mobile app in January and it was downloaded by 50,000 people, said the police.

Talking to ET, Ola said: “The company has neither commissioned nor is involved in any such activity. No such complaint has been brought to our notice.”

In the past few months, various cases of data breach have been reported, which raises a serious question on data safety.

Recently, Reliance Jio users’ data had been leaked by a website called magicapk.com. The site threw up data such as first and last name, e-mail id, mobile number, date of SIM card activation and which circle it was activated from.

Many cases of data leaks have come up related to Aadhaar. Although the government claims to be making every possible effort to secure biometric data, many incidents of leakage of Aadhaar details have surfaced.

The UIDAI, however, insists there is no need to worry as protection of an individual and safeguarding his/her information is inherent in the design of the UID project.  

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