Recently, several individual started noticing Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) toll-free helpline number being save in their phone contacts.
The number being save is 1800-300-1947 and got into phone books without user consents. Further spicing up the matter, security expert Elliot Alderson (known for finding loopholes in Aadhaar system) Tweeted –
“Many people, with different provider, 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 and so without their knowledge. Can you explain why?”
This brought a sudden uproar in the community and several demanding answers from UIDAI, and the entity did respond.
“Our valid Toll free number is 1947 which is functional for more than the last two years.”. “UIDAI has reiterated that it has not asked or advised anyone including any telecom service providers or mobile manufacturers or Android to include 18003001947 or 1947 in the default list of public service numbers.”
Today Google India has officially responded to the situation and has confirmed that it is is indeed responsible from addition UIDAI helpline numbers in Android Phone books.
” 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 have 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.
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 unauthorised access of their Android devices. Users can manually delete the number from their devices.
We will work towards fixing this in an upcoming release of SetUp wizard which will be made available to OEMs over the next few weeks.”