Aadhaar Helpline Number (UIDAI) Appears in Android Phone Contacts; Google Clarifies it as Bug Since 2014

Google has finally gone ahead and admitted to an error that has been present on Android phones since 2014. This time, this error is specific to users in India, and it has something to do with the Aadhaar helpline number.

UIDAI Helpline Number on Android Phone

Not sure if you knew, but since 2014, almost every Android phone sold in India, no matter the brand or operator, has had the helpline number for UIDAI automatically saved on the device. If you head to the Contacts app on your Android smartphone and search for UIDAI, you will find a contact.
However, this helpline number is out-dated and doesn’t work. The helpline number, 1800-300-1947, is stored on most Android phones. Thankfully, Google has finally owned up to the error, and has sent out a statement to the concerned authorities. It even apologized for the error.
According to the search giant, the UIDAI and 112 helpline numbers were automatically coded within the Android Setup wizard since 2014. In the statement, Google says that it will fix the error in an update to the Setup Wizard, within the next few weeks. It also said that it would look into how the number got there in the first place.
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 for use in India and has remained there since. We will work towards fixing this in an upcoming release of SetUp wizard which will be made available to OEMs over the next few weeks.
The UIDAI knew about this error, and put all the blame on others. According to the UIDAI, it never asked any manufacturer or operator to include a helpline number on devices. The issue came up when a French hacker asked users on Twitter to check if they had the number stored on their devices. Soon after, several thousands tweeted about how the number was indeed saved, and without their knowledge.

Although Google admitted to have made an error with the helpline number, it hasn’t said how or why the number was included in Contacts. It was just added, and no one seems to know why. The UIDAI says it didn’t ask anyone to add the number, and even the network operators have no idea. Usually, the SIM itself has these emergency numbers saved by default, but not the UIDAI helpline number.
Yet another controversy related to the Aadhaar and the UIDAI. And this comes right after the insane stunt TRAI chairman RS Sharma pulled on Twitter. To show how secure the Aadhaar is, he posted his Unique Identification number on Twitter and challenged people to cause him harm. Well, things obviously went wrong, and the people of the internet revealed several details about him. One user even sent a screenshot of a transfer done to the chairman’s bank account, and asked UIDAI to improve the security.

Who is to Blame? Google or the UIDAI?

We now know that the Aadhaar is not very secure and people can hack it to get personal details. Most likely, Google is to blame here, for adding the number in Android phones, even if they did it unknowingly.
Google has promised to take care of it, so let us hope that it does. Hopefully, upcoming Android devices in India will stop showing the UIDAI helpline number, or at least show the correct number. If you were worried about unauthorized access to your Android device, then you can rest easy, as it was not.
Also, please do not post your Aadhaar number in public!

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