Written byGogona Saikia
Amid a raging debate on safety of Aadhaar information (or the lack thereof), police in Gujarat have busted a ring that used stolen biometric data for unauthorized profits.
Two fair price shop owners were found illegally using PDS beneficiaries' biometrics to forge records of sales.
A software costing Rs. 15,000 gave them access to the biometrics.
Cops now suspect the racket goes much deeper.
Police say Babulal Chhogaji Boriwal and Sampatlal Rodilal Shah were using a software that "contained ration card numbers, Aadhaar numbers and biometric thumb impressions of PDS beneficiaries."
With the details, they created fake records of food grain sale. Eg. according to their records, Kishore Thakkar, Surat resident, availed subsidized food grains during April-November'17.
However, a probe revealed he hadn't bought anything from their shop.
Police don't yet know where they purchased the software from, "who developed it and who supplied the data," and are probing the matter.
Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma suspects workers of agencies given government contracts to access biometric data for different purposes, who might have saved data and sold them illegally.
The incident isn't linked to the Aadhaar database, he claimed.
The issue came to light after different police stations received eight complaints against the two by officials of the Surat collectorate alleging mass irregularities. They have been arrested and booked on various charges, including criminal breach of trust, forgery, and sections of the IT Act.
This comes a month after reports emerged of access to Aadhaar database being sold for just Rs. 500.
For another Rs. 300, racketeers also allowed clients to print Aadhaar cards.
Access to individuals' biometric information could present grave risks: they could be used to obtain SIM cards or open bank accounts in others' name, or even access others' personal information with fake Aadhaar cards.
One step you could take to protect your biometrics is to lock them. Visit www.uidai.gov.in and go to 'Lock/Unlock Biometrics' under Aadhaar Services.
Under 'Lock your Biometrics', enter your Aadhaar number and the security code as specified.
An OTP will be sent to your registered mobile number.
Enter the OTP in the relevant space and 'Login'.
Enter the security code once again and 'Enable'.
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