Your identity is on sale for Rs 10!

Hyderabad: Data relating to crucial identity of citizens such as Aadhaar, PAN and ration card data are being sold in the form of scribble pads for just `10 apiece on the footpaths of Begum Bazaar and Monda Market. The scribble pads had unobscured data of hundreds of people.

The books revealed that these documents come from a variety of sources. Most of this data comes from banks, which sell KYC documents submitted applicants for various purposes to scrap dealers. Scribble book manufacturers get these papers from the local scrap dealer to convert them into scribble pads.

A book manufacturer at Monda Market told Deccan Chronicle: “As long as one side or even one quarter of the paper is clear, we purchase the papers to create the books. We don't see what’s on the other side.”

The papers in one of such scribble pads appears to have been sold by SBI’s Kompally branch. The scribble pad contains bank statements, photocopies of cheques, PAN cards, Aadhar cards, voter ID cards and power bills of some of the account holders of the branch.

The book also includes letters written to the bank by account holders from 2012 and 2013, seeking new cheque books, pass books, ATM cards, net banking among others,

According to the SBI’s record retention policy, any document approved for disposal should be shredded and destroyed beyond recognition, upon which they will be sent to a paper mill for converting the shredded pieces into pulp for recycling the paper. However, the crucial documents containing people’s sensitive information are being sold as scrap.

When Deccan Chronicle contacted SBI’s Kompally manager to seek his response, it received no information.

In another book, the identity information of several people from Medak district were found. It had papers having voter IDs, ration cards and Aadhaar cards of hundreds of people. These documents too, were disposed of by a bank whose details were not identified. It had letters that customers had written to the bank in 2013.

Yet another book had details of some more people from Medak, but did not contain information about any bank. It had voter ID cards, Aadhaar cards, ration cards along with fingerprints and signatures of the card holders.

A man, whose data was found in the book, who wished to be anonymous, was confused about how his documents landed up in Hyderabad in a scribble book. When asked about him submitting the documents in banks or other institutions, he said he had submitted the documents at several places such as his kids’ school, registration offices and other places. He expressed his dismay over the negligence of authorities in handling people’s crucial information.

Some books also had project reports of MBA students from Osmania University. Entire projects of students, including the signatures of professor guides for the project, were found in the books.

When asked about the discarding of project documents, a faculty member of the department of business management said the university’s OSD decides how and when to dispose of the project documents. The OSD’s office said the department takes a call on the disposal, sending the blame of responsibility in a loop. The office also said the university does not have any code or guidelines for the clearance of the projects.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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