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Android users find Aadhaar helpline number saved in their phones

8/8/2018 11:41:59 AMVisitors: 647

<p>Just days after <strong style="font-weight: bold;">TRAI chairman RS Sharma </strong>took social media by storm, sharing his Aadhaar number on <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Twitter </strong>and challenging people to harm him, the <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI&nbsp;</strong>has found itself in fresh controversy. The UIDAI's helpline number is being randomly saved by default in many <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Android phones</strong>, and users have no idea how and why.</p> <p>The issue seems to be specific to Android phones and isn't limited to one or two telecom operators or even one or two brands of phones. Most Android phones seem to be affected, and it doesn't matter if you're using <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Airtel, Vodafone or Jio</strong>.</p> <p><strong style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Update:</span></strong> Google has clarified that the issue is because of a change it made in 2014. And it has said sorry for it. "Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then <strong style="font-weight: bold;">UIDAI </strong>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. 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," said a <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Google </strong>spokesperson in a statement issued late on Friday night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="font-weight: bold;">UIDAI clarifies stand</strong></p> <p>Problem is, the <strong style="font-weight: bold;">UIDAI </strong>helpline number (1800-300-1947) being saved in Android phones across India is not even up-to-date, something that even the UIDAI has come up and acknowledged. In fact, the authority has said that it "hasn't asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility," going on to blame "vested interests" for causing confusion.</p> <p>The issue came to light late on Thursday night when French hacker who goes by the pseudonym <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Elliot Alderson</strong> asked people on Twitter if they had the UIDAI helpline in their phonebooks. Within hours, social media was abuzz with people posting screenshots confirming that the UIDAI helpline had been saved in their Android phones, without their knowledge or consent.</p> <p>"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?" Alderson had tweeted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="font-weight: bold;">Telecom operators have no clue</strong></p> <p>Telecom operators are known to bundle emergency numbers and services with their SIM cards. Often this is after a Government authority makes it a guideline. But in this case, the <strong style="font-weight: bold;">UIDAI </strong>has come up and denied it hasn't given out any such directions.</p> <p>While it could not be independently confirmed with the phone manufacturers, the issue raises both fear and concern, how the helpline number made its way to so many Android phones. India Today Tech reached out to Google, and the company that's behind Android said that it is currently investigating the matter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="color: #ff0000;">So who did it? Google's Android probably</span></strong></p> <p>The question is from where this number is coming? And the likely answer is that the number is coming from <strong style="font-weight: bold;">Google's Android operating system</strong>, which powers over 90 per cent smartphones in India.</p> <p>The operating system apparently started adding the<strong style="font-weight: bold;"> UIDAI number</strong> to phones last year at operating system level on the basis of a phone's location. The number was added only to phones in India.</p>

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