Putting at rest to all the controversies that erupted amid auto-saved Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) toll-free helpline number to thousands of Indian smartphone users Google has taken the responsibility and has assured to fix the issue in the next few weeks. On Friday thousands of smartphone users were left puzzled to find UIDAI toll-free helpline number automatically saved into their contact list. Adding to everyone’s surprise, Aadhaar body has said that they did not ask any service provider or manufacturer to add helpline after it appears on smartphones.
— SANJAY BAFNA (@sanjaybafna) August 3, 2018
It came as a relief to all when Google came up to take the responsibility and confirmed that the issue is set to be fixed in an upcoming release of the setup wizard. The earlier take of UIDAI and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) of denying having any role in the whole issue had created a fuzz among the users.
#UIDAI helpline number in my contact list without my consent is a serious issue and breach of my #PrivacyRights . Why is #Google snooping on its users? Perhaps it is time to dump #Android. Shocking incident. #CyberAttack
— Onkar Sharma (@onksharma) August 4, 2018
Later UIDAI clarified that the helpline number 1800-300-1947 that was auto-saved in the mobile contacts were outdated and invalid. Google also apologized for the incident and said that the UIDAI helpline number and the distress helpline number were coded into the setup wizard of Android phones back in 2014.
According to a section of #IndianMedia .. @Google inserted #UIDAI number in Indian Android phones ..
The Deal, The Happy Surveillance days and The getting caught red-handed .. pic.twitter.com/WKU0Mamtzh
— Shuvankar Mukherjee (@shuvankr) August 3, 2018
“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 (Original equipment manufacturers) for use in India and has 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,” said a Google spokesperson.