Google takes the onus of UIDAI’s helpline number on Smartphones

Thousands of people in India were shocked when they saw a  toll-free number of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) saved on their smartphones.

However,  Google has issued a statement in which they clarified that they are to blame for this autosave of an outdated Aadhar helpline number, and said that there is not any kind of breach of the Android devices.

“Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since. Since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement late Friday.

“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 unauthorized access of their Android devices,” the company added.

In the meantime, Telecom operators denied any kind of role in this and said that the government of India has not issued any kind of mandate to the handset makers.

“UIDAI cannot, in any case, give us any mandate. The matter needs investigation,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman of the Indian Cellular Association.

A lot of people showed their anguish on social media websites about this incidence. s A French security expert who has pointed out many flaws in UIDAI before, posted a question on Twitter: “Many people, with different providers, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default without their knowledge. Can you explain why?”