India’s national biometric database, Aadhaar, is the largest national database of people in the world. Linked to each person’s 12-digit personally identifiable number are the usual personal details, along with fingerprints and iris scans. At least some of that information has reportedly become accessible as a result of a purchase made by a journalist via WhatsApp.
According to The Tribune, a local newspaper in India, a reporter was given a login ID and password to the database after paying about 500 rupees (about $8) to an individual on WhatsApp. Within 10 minutes, the journalist could enter any Aadharr number in the portal and get that person’s name, address, photo, phone number, and email. For another 300 rupees (less than $5) the reporter got software that let him print an actual Aadhaar card by entering anyone’s number.
BuzzFeed News‘ Pranav Dixit reports that Quint, an Indian news website, also found that anyone can create an administrator account that lets them access the Aadhaar database as long as they’re invited by an existing administrator.
Dixit writes that the Indian government denied the Tribune report. However, that denial has been met with pushback.
Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.