The arrests come after an American cyber security agency’s alert on the alleged data leak of over 81 crore Indians’ Aadhaar and passport information.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saket Gokhale on Monday accused the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre of providing false information in Parliament regarding the security of Aadhaar data. This comes in the wake of the arrest of four individuals who were allegedly involved in leaking the Aadhaar and passport details of Indian citizens on the dark web.
In a social media post on X, Gokhale wrote, “In Parliament, Modi Govt replied to my question & denied any breach of Aadhaar. And now 4 people have been arrested for leaking Aadhaar & passport details of Indians on the dark web from ICMR database. Why is your Ministry lying in Parliament, Rajeev Chandrashekhar? What are you hiding?”
The four individuals were apprehended by the Delhi Police Cyber Unit around 10 days ago, following a suo motu action initiated by the authorities. The personal data, including Aadhaar and passport details, was reportedly leaked from the data bank of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and put up for sale on the dark web.
According to police officials, the breach was first detected in October, and the sensitive information was being offered for sale on illicit online platforms.
In what was described as possibly the ‘biggest’ case of data leak in the country, personal details of more than 81.5 crore Indians, sourced allegedly from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), were leaked online, according to a News18 report. The report noted that the leak was initially noticed by Resecurity, an American cyber security and intelligence agency.
Congress MP Manickam Tagore later wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising an issue of the security and integrity of the Indian citizens after the data leak alert from the American cyber security company.
In the letter to the PM, Tagore said that the alarming revelation has raised serious questions about the security and integrity of the citizens’ sensitive data.
“According to their report, personally identifiable information of 815 million Indian citizens, including Aadhaar numbers and passport details, has been compromised and is being sold on the dark web. This alarming revelation has raised serious questions about the security and integrity of our citizens’ sensitive data,” the Congress MP said in his letter.
“The fact that this data is being offered for sale at a mere $80,000 is not only a grave violation of privacy but also a matter of national security. What is even more disconcerting is that the data appears to be valid, which suggests a significant lapse in our data protection measures,” he added.
In July, Gokhale, the national spokesperson of the TMC, alleged that the country’s Covid-19 vaccination tracking platform CoWin had been breached, with details of senior political leaders available on the social media application Telegram. He shared the screenshots of the breach on his official X (formerly Twitter) account, which included Aadhaar card numbers, along with gender, date of birth and vaccination centre of senior leaders.