Thousands of smartphone users in India woke up puzzled on Friday with a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) toll-free helpline number saved in their phonebooks by default, reports IANS.
UIDAI has replaced the earlier helpline number -- 1800-300-1947 -- with the new number -- 1947, which got into people's phonebooks without their consent. Following the switch to the new number, the previous number that is saved in the contacts is not operational anymore.
UIDAI has now issued a statement saying the toll-free number added
to Android Phones is invalid - it never asked anyone to provide this
facility. Its statement said 'vested interest were trying to create
unwarranted confusion in the public'.
"This is no joke as it is on my phone too. I didn't save this number. Check your phone asap, feeling worried," a user tweeted with a screenshot.
However, users who dialled the number said the call did not go through, with a recorded message saying, 'service to the dialled number was unavailable'.
A French security expert, Elliot Alderson, asked UIDAI on Twitter: "Many people, with different providers, with and without an #Aadhaar card, with and without the mAadhaar app installed, noticed that your phone number is predefined in their contact list by default without their knowledge. Can you explain why?"
Twitter was abuzz again with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma's open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.
Sharma made a tweetstorm by sharing his 12-digit Aadhaar number on July 28.
Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth (DoB), PAN number and voter ID, among others.