UIDAI row: 'We're sorry, this isn't unauthorised access of Android devices,' Google apologises

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Aug 04, 2018, 06:26 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Google further added that the number can be deleted manually from the phones.

The latest development in the UIDAI row is an apology issued from Google's end. The tech giant, last night, issued a statement clarifying that it had "inadvertently" loaded the old UIDAI helpline number and 112 helpline number into the 'setup wizard' of Android phones and that it is sorry for the same. 

"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 (Original equipment manufacturers) for use in India and has remained there since. Since the numbers get listed on a user's contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. 

Public outrage erupted when some Android-run smartphone users spotted pre-stored Aadhaar helpline number in their phonebook without prior user consent. The incident created panic among Android users across the country.

"We are sorry for any concern that this might have caused and would like to assure everyone that this is not a situation of an unauthorised access of their Android devices. Users can manually delete the number from their devices," the statement added. 

The tech titan said it will "work towards fixing this in an upcoming release of SetUp wizard which will be made available to OEMs over the next few weeks". It also added that the number can be deleted manually from the phones. 

Aadhaar-issuing authority UIDAI on Friday stated not having asked any phone maker or telecom service provider to include its toll-free number on mobile phones. Telecom operators' body COAI also noted that no one from the body had pre-loaded any unknown numbers on any mobile phone.

Many disgruntled users took to social media and lashed out at the UIDAI after their Android-operating system-run mobile phones listed by default the Aadhaar helpline number 1800-300-1947.

UIDAI clarified stating that the number 1800-300 was an "outdated and invalid" helpline number and that "some vested interests are trying to create unwarranted confusion in the public".

The UIDAI's valid toll-free number is 1947, which is functional for more than the last two years, it had said.

(With inputs from PTI

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