On Saturday, RS Sharma, head of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and former head of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issued a challenge on Twitter to do him 'harm' after posting his Aadhaar number. Of course, any harm that may be done to him would consist of offences under the Aadhaar Act as well as the Information Technology Act. Sharma, however, assured users that he would not take any legal action for harm caused to him. This is again problematic, as the UIDAI has initiated legal action against persons who exposed flaws in the Aadhaar architecture in the past.
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Within hours of issuing the challenge, users on Twitter began posting phone numbers, email addresses, and even PAN details claiming these to be his. Detractors pointed out that since Sharma was a public official, most of the information was already available on government websites. What turned out to be interesting is, some claimed that the information revealed may not have been Sharma's, and that the Aadhaar number he posted was not his, but was of his secretary. The Twitter users in support of Aadhaar and Sharma too began posting their Aadhaar numbers in an open challenge to those claiming to have found out the details.
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One Twitter user claimed that Sharma had purchased a three-year premium subscription of a “not-so-honourable website.”
Some users claimed to have ordered products though Amazon on a cash-on-Delivery basis, sent to Sharma's address. What makes this challenge most interesting is that Sharma has intended it to be a direct challenge to all those who have criticised Aadhaar's architecture.
Newsclickhas pointed out the legal and technical issues with Aadhaar in the past as well. Though the hearings on Aadhaar's Constitutional validity concluded in May this year, the Judgement is yet to be pronounced. Though this challenge is certainly a publicity stunt, if any harm has actually been caused to Sharma using his Aadhaar number, it is unlikely to be announced over Twitter.
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