Ram Sewak Sharma, the chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has issued an open challenge to people on the Internet. After publicly revealing his Aadhaar number on Twitter, Sharma told a Twitter user to prove that the number can be used to do harm to the user.
“My Aadhaar number is **** **** ****. Now I give this challenge to you: Show me one concrete example where you can do any harm to me!” he posted after the Twitter user dared him to reveal the number as Sharma claimed before The Print.
On 27 July, Sharma, the outgoing chief of TRAI who is tipped to be the next chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), told The Print that Aadhaar does not violate privacy.
He argued in favour of creating a database of residents on the ground that the government gives subsidies.
“Tell me what harm can you do to me if you have my Aadhaar details? I will give you my Aadhaar number if you like,” Sharma told The Print.
A Twitter user with name and handle ‘@kingslyj’ tagged Sharma’s Twitter handle and asked the TRAI chief to “walk the talk”.
“Publish your Aadhaar details to the public if you have so much trust in this 13ft wall secured system,” the Twitter user said.
Moments after Sharma revealed his Aadhaar number, Elliot Alderson – the secretive Twitter user who is known to reveal security loopholes in the data system – put out Sharma’s phone number. In a series of tweets, Alderson claimed that the phone number belongs to Sharma’s secretary.
The Twitter user, who claims to be a French man called Robert Baptiste, also posted a photo of Sharma with another person while questioning whether the TRAI chief even gave his own Aadhaar number.
While some Twitter users such as comedian Jose Covaco found it funny, others were not convinced.
A user, Saket Singh with the handle @TheWhatsappGuy, claimed that Sharma’s number is in the public domain. The user also mocked Alderson’s ‘revelations’.
“Such a big hacker and all he could manage in 5 hours is a phone number which is already a public record (he’s a government official)? The man gave his Aadhaar number and challenged everyone to bring something concrete which could harm him, not something which is public record,” wrote Singh.
Such a big hacker and all he could manage in 5 hours is a phone number which is already a public record (he’s a government official)? The man gave his aadhar number and challenged everyone to bring something concrete which could harm him, not something which is public record. 😂
— Saket Singh (@TheWhatsappGuy) July 28, 2018
In his interview with The Print, Sharma had said that UIDAI does not get bank details of the user even if it is connected to Aadhaar.
“Even if a bank account is linked to Aadhaar, UIDAI does not get your bank details and only serves to authenticate identity,” he said.