CoWIN Data Leak: A Grave Breach of Privacy Shakes Trust in India’s Vaccination System

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CoWIN Data Leak: A Grave Breach of Privacy Shakes Trust in India's Vaccination System

CoWIN Data Leak: A Grave Breach of Privacy Shakes Trust in India’s Vaccination System

In a shocking turn of events, reports have emerged of a massive data leak from the CoWIN app, India’s official platform for COVID-19 vaccination registration. According to news accounts, personal information including Aadhaar and PAN card details to passport information was exposed on the popular messaging app Telegram. This breach of privacy has raised serious concerns about the security measures in place to protect sensitive data belonging to citizens.

CoWIN Data Leak

Data Leakage and Its Effects

According to news reports, the source of the leaked data has been identified as a Telegram bot called Truecaller. When a registered mobile number is entered into the CoWIN app, the Truecaller bot reportedly retrieves all associated details, including the user’s personal information and registered family members. This revelation is especially concerning given the sensitive nature of the data involved, which could expose millions of Indians to identity theft, fraud, and other malicious activities.

Affecting Public Figures

This data leak has affected even well-known figures. According to reports, the personal information of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and his wife, Uttarakhand MLA Ritu Khanduri, has been exposed. Furthermore, Trinamool Congress leader Saket Gokhale has shared screenshots on social media revealing personal information of political figures such as Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, Congress Party Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, and several senior journalists.

CoWIN Data Leak

Government’s Response and Previous Incidents

This recent data leakage incident follows previous concerns about the security of the CoWIN portal. Earlier in 2021, there were reports of a potential hack that allegedly exposed the personal information of 15 crore Indians. However, the government’s cyber security agencies denied the charges. Similarly, the government has now stated that the CoWIN app does not collect personal data and only stores vaccination-related information.

CoWIN Data Leak

Security Measures are being criticised

The data leak from the CoWIN app raises serious concerns about the efficiency of the government’s security measures. It’s concerning that sensitive personal information like Aadhaar and PAN card numbers can be accessed via a third-party messaging app. Furthermore, the revelation that a registered mobile number on CoWIN can provide access to not only the user’s data but also the data of their registered family members is deeply concerning.

CoWIN Data Leak

Protecting Citizens’ Privacy

Given India’s increasing digitalization and dependability on technology for public services, the government must prioritise data protection and privacy. When citizens’ personal information is compromised, their trust in such platforms can be severely eroded. The government must act immediately to thoroughly investigate the data leak, strengthen security protocols, and ensure stringent safeguards are in place to protect citizens’ privacy.

CoWIN Data Leak

The recent data leak from the CoWIN app, which allegedly exposed the personal information of millions of Indians, is a serious violation of privacy. The government must address this issue immediately and take comprehensive steps to restore trust in the security of the vaccination registration process. Protecting citizens’ sensitive data should be a top priority to prevent potential misuse and protect individuals from the harms of identity theft and fraud.


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