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Ola has been trying to curb branding related threats from within, and around the industry, however one of the founders of the company (Qarth Technologies) which was sold to Ola sometime back manages to make it to news by illegally accessing UIDAI data through a mobile app.
Who is Abhinav Srivastava and how Ola is involved?
Abhinav Srivastava is a graduate from IIT Kharagpur and the founder of Qarth Technologies (founded in the year 2012 in Chennai). Qarth Technologies had developed a mobile app called X-Pay, which is a multi-bank IMPS mobile payment application. Qarth Technologies was acquired by Ola Money in the year 2016, in order to boost up the company’s mobile wallet’s reach and technology infrastructure. Since the acquisition Abhinav Srivastava is working for Ola however post the allegation Ola denied to commission any such initiative, or for that matter intended to do so.
What did Abhinav Srivastava do?
Abhinav Srivastava developed a mobile app which provided “Aadhaar e-KYC verification” by accessing data hosted on the National Informatics Centre (NIC) server for UIDAI. The process involved users downloading the app and accessing their own Data through the app which is furnished at the time of viewing through an API (Application Programming Interface). Allegations of accessing Aadhar related information through an e-hospital website also surfaced which is as an offence under Aadhar Act 2016, in the charge sheet filed against him.
With the leak of UIDAI data, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) first lodged an FIR against Abhinav Srivastava and Qarth Technologies to the Bengaluru police. As soon as the news of FIR being lodged against him surfaced, Abhinav Srivastava stared to run but soon the Bengaluru Police chased and spotted him. In the chase, the police seized four laptops, a CPU, one tablet, four mobile phones and six pen drives.
Speaking on the development Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI said “No one could get data of any other person through this app. Even though residents were downloading their own demographic data such as name, address etc., yet legal actions were initiated against the owner of the app since it was not authorised to provide such services to people and such acts are criminal offence punishable action as per Aadhaar Act, 2016. It is further reiterated that data of not even a single non-consenting resident has been given by UIDAI through this app.”
The App was downloaded by 50,000 people and he reportedly also have earned $ 628 (approx. INR 40,000) from ads viewed over the app by the users. Ola has been under scrutiny and has publicly confirmed a glitch in its Driver Verification Process in the Ola Kidnapping Case, recently.