WikiLeaks tweeted on Friday: “Have CIA spies already stolen #India’s national ID card database?” A few minutes later, it tweeted: “Has the CIA already stolen India’s #Aadhaar database?”
WikiLeaks published reports on Thursday that claimed to “expose” that CIA is using tools devised by US-based technology provider Cross Match Technologies for cyber spying that may have comprised Aadhaar data. The claim was dismissed by official sources in India.
Cross Match Technologies also provides biometric solutions to the Unique Identification Authority of India, the statutory body for Aadhaar, leading to claims of possible data leakage.
When contacted, official sources said the report was not a WikiLeaks “leak” but areport by a website. Cross Match is a global supplier of devices used for biometric data capture. But the data collected cannot reach the company or any other entity as vendors collect data in an encrypted form that is transferred to Aadhaar servers. “The reports do not have any basis in fact. Aadhaar data is safely encrypted and is not accessible to any other agency,” said official sources.
“The OTS (Office of Technical Services), a branch within the CIA, has a biometric collection system that is provided to liaison services around the world — with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems. But this ‘voluntary sharing’ obviously does not work or is considered insufficient by the CIA, because ExpressLane is a covert information collection tool that is used by the CIA to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services,” said WikiLeaks on its website.