Airtel Scammed Rupees 167 Crore By Misusing Customer’s Aadhaar Data

Airtel Scammed Rupees 167 Crore By Misusing Customer's Aadhaar Data-techinfoBiT

You might have been receiving the threatening messages from the mobile network providers and banks to link your Aadhaar number saying “if you will not link the Aadhaar, your number or account will be deactivated”. I am getting these messages and calls every day but I haven’t done it yet with a hope that maybe someday it won’t be mandatory or will do at the last moment.

I believe there are too many people like me who have a very strong concern about their privacy and do not want to share private data unless it’s not extremely necessary, especially vulnerable data like Aadhaar data which can be manipulated and misused in a countless manner.

Now after the recent scam by Airtel, it scares the most. This is just the beginning because there will always be companies like Bharti Airtel which will misuse our data for their own benefits, it’s an ironic situation that there is not a single arrest in this case yet even after such a big violation of customer’s privacy.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has ordered an investigation against Bharti Airtel for alleged violations of the Aadhaar Act. The incident comes into fore when some customers complained that their cooking LPG subsidy is getting landed in Airtel payment bank account instead of their originally linked saving bank account, and they never remember opening the Airtel payment bank account.

According to the national media covering the matter very closely, the company has used to activate the Airtel Payment Bank account without the consent of customers during Aadhaar verification of their mobile numbers.

However, the Airtel has denied the wrongdoing and trying to blame their retail partners by saying that they are working with their retail partners to strengthen processes and ensure transparency. We can understand that the company is just playing a blame game to avoid the consequences, it’s well known that how Airtel used to steal the balances of prepaid customers account which was also the reason I had ported out my number from Airtel at first place.

Now the UIDAI has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using the eKYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients acting on a complaint where around Rs 167 crores was deposited by 31.21 lakh customers in their Airtel Payments Bank accounts which were activated without the customer’s consent.

Its ok to share the Aadhaar or any data to the government but its all about the trust in the government, law and the infrastructure to protect it. Personally, I have absolute ZERO trusts in the government when it comes to the personal data and its protection.

Before asking and advertising to link the Aadhaar data the Indian government should have advertised that how they will keep the data safe ?? can the government guarantee us that my data will be safe at any cost and it will not be misused, instead they are threatening every now and then to link it. A common citizen has no clue what are the laws and penalties if someone or some companies will misuse their Aadhaar data, this is the first failure for the government.

I hope maybe someday, some government will take the citizen’s privacy seriously, and also the citizen of the country will understand the importance of their privacy and digital data or maybe someday people will stop sharing phone numbers and personal data just to get 10 rupees 20 rupees discount at Pantaloons or any other stores.


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