No proposal to link social media accounts of individuals to Aadhaar, says IT Minister Prasad

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tells Parliament that the government has no plans of linking Aadhaar with social media accounts of individuals.

The government has no proposal for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts of individuals, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

"There is no such proposal with the government for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts of individuals," Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He was replying to a specific query on whether the government proposes to enact a law for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts of individuals.

Prasad said that as a matter of policy and by design, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) precludes itself from aggregating information arising from the use of Aadhaar, tracking and profiling individuals.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

"...the system by intent is blind to the purpose for which Aadhaar may be used at the front end by the resident. Also, the core biometrics are encrypted at the time of enrolment/updation. It is never kept unencrypted and is never shared," he added.

Prasad said Aadhaar was based on three core principles of "minimal information, optimal ignorance and federated database".

"In its whole lifecycle, an Aadhaar database contains only the information that the resident provides at the time of enrolment or updation... The database may also have mobile and e-mail, if provided by the resident, during enrolment or updation," he said.

The Aadhaar database contains name, address, gender, date of birth/age, photograph and core biometrics (10 fingerprints and 2 iris scans) of the enrolled resident.

In response to another query, Prasad said non-resident Indians (NRIs) were entitled to obtain Aadhaar number after arrival in India.

"Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has already implemented facility of such Aadhaar enrolment for NRIs w.e.f. September 20, 2019... As on November 14, 2019, over 2,800 Aadhaar have been generated to NRIs," he said.

To another question, Prasad said a total of 3,433 URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) have been blocked on social media platforms this year (up to October 31). The number of URLs blocked stood at 633 in 2016, 1,385 (in year 2017), and 2,799 (2018), he said.

"Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 empowers the government to block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence," he said.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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