01/05/2018 12:21 PM IST | Updated 01/05/2018 12:29 PM IST

Andhra Pradesh Government Finally Wakes Up To Aadhaar Data 'Leak' On Its Websites, Orders Audits

HuffPost India had reported how people could be geo-located through a website maintained by the state government.

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Andhra Pradesh State Information Technology (IT) Minister N Lokesh Naidu told the media on Monday that an operation had been launched to secure state government websites, after data of 4.8 lakh pregnant women that had been leaked on the state's Women and Child Welfare Department's website.

Indian Express reported that the AP Cyber Security Operations Centre took over all the websites of the 33 departments of the state government to carry out audits on safety and security.

It was reported on April 30 that the Aadhaar numbers of 4.8 lakh pregnant women and other details such as name, husband's name and health status had been leaked. This data had been collected by the government to provide food, monetary and medical aid to the women.

Indian Express reported that the column displaying the leaked data was removed after being notified by cyber security expert Kodali Srinivas.

The report quoted Andhra CMO officials as saying that the personal information was 'inadvertently' revealed because the data uploaded to maintain transparency.

Srinivas said that government collecting data to improve the health status of rural women was not the bad thing, but connecting the details to Aadhaar was.

He told Times of India, "Collecting data of pregnant women is a good initiative so that the government can follow-up with them to decrease the maternal mortality and infant mortality rates, prevent anaemia in mothers and malnutrition in kids. But the problem is linking it with Aadhaar. The violation of rules is in making this data public."

Last week a HuffPost India report had pointed out that anyone could use "religion" or "caste" as a search criterion to identify homes of 5,166,698 families in 13 districts through a public online dashboard on a website maintained by the Andhra Pradesh government.

Huffpost India had found that the number of families that could be searched on the data base increased over a period, suggesting that it was continually updated. The data on the website gave out as much as the latitude and longitude of the homes of people.

The story pointed out how the real problem with Aadhaar was not the biometric data collected by the government but the unsecured seeding of Aadhaar numbers onto other database like income tax, property records, bank loans, phones, bank accounts, and beneficiary records.

Read the entire HuffPost India story here.