A man uses mobile phones in Mumbai (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

UIDAI Says It Didn’t Ask Mobile Makers, Operators To Include Helpline Number

The Unique Identification Authority of India today said it has not asked any device maker or service provider to include its toll free number on mobile phones. It also clarified that the number 1800-300-1947 appearing in the contact list of Android phones is an “outdated and invalid” helpline number.

Screen grab of an Android phone with UIDAI contact details. (Source: BloombergQuint)
Screen grab of an Android phone with UIDAI contact details. (Source: BloombergQuint)

This comes after the Aadhaar issuing authority faced backlash on social media over the default inclusion of ‘1800-300-1947’ in the contact list of Android phones. The UIDAI clarified its position in a statement today and hinted at the involvement of a third party with “vested interests” in the matter.

“...the said 18003001947 is not a valid UIDAI toll free number and some vested interests are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public,” said UIDAI in a statement.

The UIDAI’s valid toll free number is 1947, which is functional for more than the last two years, it said.

“UIDAI has reiterated that it has not asked or advised anyone including any telecom service providers or mobile manufacturers or Android to include 1800-300-1947 or 1947 in the default list of public service numbers,” the statement added.

Referring to the reports on automatic inclusion of the UIDAI’s ‘outdated and invalid’ helpline number 1800-300-1947 in phone’s contact list, the Aadhaar-issuing body said that it has “not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever.”

Amid heightened privacy concerns, people on social media have questioned how the UIDAI helpline number had crept into their smartphone contact list.

Yesterday, French security expert who goes under the pseudonym Elliot Alderson and describes himself as “worst nightmare of the UIDAI” had tweeted about the inclusion of the authority’s number in its phonebook.

A vigilante hacker who uses the handle @fs0c131y on Twitter, Alderson was vocal during the recent Aadhaar dare thrown by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman RS Sharma and has, in the past, also revealed purportedly flaws in the Aadhaar system.

Also read: TRAI Chief’s Aadhaar Dare: UIDAI Warns People Not To Share Aadhaar Number