Many people might have noticed UIDAI contact number suddenly appearing in their contact list. When people enquired about it, UIDAI said that they did not add it through any means. They did not ask any provider to include their contact number on people’s phone list.
When the news spread to Google came forward and apologized to people. It said that they have inadvertently coded the 112 helpline ‘112’ which is the Unique Identification Authority of India number. They did not code it properly in the setup wizard of Android OS.
Google’s Response To The Issue
In the wake of the issue, Google responded to it. They said that “When our internal team reviewed the code, they found that in 2014 they inadvertently coded the helpline number. Back then the helpline number of UIDAI and 112 was fed into the setup wizard of the Android OS. The Android release was given to the manufactures of India for usage and it has been with them for the time being”.
Further, Google’s spokesperson said that “Since the numbers get listed directly on the contact list, they get transferred. Hence it was transferred directly to all the new devices. We are extremely sorry for the concerns this issue might have caused to anyone. It has been due to a little coding error and not because of any unauthorized access. All the users who got the number in their contact list can manually delete it from their devices”.
Google said that they will try to fix the issue in the upcoming release version of the setup wizard. It will be made available for all the manufactures so that such issue will not persist again in the future.
When UIDAI came to know about the issue, they said that “We have not asked any telecom provider or mobile manufacturer to include the toll-free number. Moreover, the number is outdated and invalid for a long time”.
When the Cellular Association Of India was asked about this, they too denied any member trying to load the toll-free number in the subscribers mobile”.
The problem was revealed when a French Security Expert tweeted to the world. He asked if anyone was able to see the UIDAI helpline number in their contact list. In less than few hours, several people tweeted the screenshot of the number being saved in their contact list. Many users were frustrated since it was done without their concern. They felt it as the breach of their privacy since it was done without them being notified about it. For the people who are looking for the valid contact number of UIDAI, it is 1947. The toll-free number which was loaded in the phones was stopped around 2 years back.