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Google has admitted that it was their fault that an outdated Aadhaar helpline number appeared mysteriously in the contact lists of phones. They have also said that the issue would be fixed over the next few weeks. Google released a statement on Friday which stated: “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 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.” Google has also added an apology for the mishap.

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 unauthorized access of their Android devices. – Google

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However, the users can manually delete the number from their devices if they wish to do it themselves. They would try to solve the problem in an upcoming release of SetUp wizard which will be made available to OEMs over the next few weeks.

On Friday a lot of people complained about the appearance of the defunct UIDAI helpline number 1800-300-1947 on Android and some iOS devices. The Unique Identification Authority of India, telecom operators, and handset vendors said that they had no role in the mysterious appearance of the Aadhaar number. UIDAI which manages the country’s Aadhaar project said that they have not asked handset makers and telecom service providers to include its toll-free number on mobile phones.

UIDAI cannot in any case give us a mandate. The matter needs investigation. – Pankaj Mohindroo, the Chairman of the Indian Cellular Association

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Twitter users went into a frenzy after a French security expert who goes by the pseudonym of Elliot Alderson posted on Twitter and described himself as UIDAI’s worst nightmare. The tweet read: “Hi @UIDAI, Many people, with different provider, 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 and so without their knowledge. Can you explain why?” UIDAI said it has “not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever.”

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