TRAI chief R S Sharma, who had engaged in a verbal duel with the Twitterati over potential misuse of Aadhaar, today said that no information was “discovered” about him on account of sharing of Aadhaar number but conceded that social media was not a suitable forum to discuss complex policy matters.
“…I can say with full responsibility that no information has been discovered about me due to Aadhaar. All this information was discoverable without Aadhaar…whatever was attempted to be discovered, could have been known even without Aadhaar,” Sharma told PTI in an interview today.
Sharma, former UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) director general, has been an ardent supporter of the Aadhaar programme, vouching for the safety of the system, and dispelling privacy concerns surrounding the national ID scheme even during his current stint as TRAI chief.
Sharma — who is set to complete his tenure as chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) tomorrow — had a stand-off with critics of Aadhaar late last month, after he disclosed his unique ID number on the microblogging site and asked people to show how mere knowledge of the number could be used to harm him.
The move had caused a social media flutter and a tsunami of tweets had ensued in the aftermath of the Aadhaar dare.
Clearing the air over the Aadhaar debate, Sharma said: “Unfortunately, it appears that the Aadhaar challenge was by me…no…It was a challenge thrown upon me, and I just responded to that challenge.”
“Somebody said why don’t you walk the talk, and why not give Aadhaar number so I said…here it is, and now I give you this challenge,” Sharma recalled.
He, however, said that social media was not a suitable platform to discuss complex policy issues.
“Social media is not an appropriate platform to discuss complex policy issues, that is something I have learnt,” said the outgoing TRAI chief.
Following the Aadhaar challenge last month, some users claimed to have got access to Sharma’s bank account number and email, although the TRAI chief had refuted such claims saying they were untrue.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had thereafter asked people not to share publicly their 12-digit identifier on Internet and social media, or pose such challenges to others.