NADRA compromises citizens’ privacy through SMS

* Nisar approves plan for launching CNICs re-verification drive from July 1

NADRA compromises citizens’ privacy through SMS

KARACHI: The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has compromised the privacy of millions of citizens just to track down some 'aliens'.

The authority while taking a swift action against the use of Pakistani CNICs by fewer aliens in an astonishing move has compromised millions of citizens' privacy through its SMS service 8008.

Instead of spotting aliens or suspicious people, NADRA has backed wrongdoers by providing easy access to family data of millions of Pakistanis. The biggest flaw in this recently launched service by NADRA is that anybody can get details of any Pakistani family members by sending their CNIC numbers to 8008.

Sources said that apparently, this campaign is launched for the re-verification of registered families. The service allows Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) holders to check who is registered under the same family tree by sending an SMS to 8008, sources added.

It is learnt that this service can easily be used by any unrelated person to know the family tree of any CNIC number. For instance, anyone with malafide intentions having CNIC numbers of thousands of Pakistani nationals can easily get to know the names of family members of the CNIC holders through this service from only one mobile number.

Experts said that only the registered mobile numbers of Pakistani nationals in NADRA's database should have been allowed to receive details of their family tree by sending an SMS to 8008, so that there would be no chance of giving birth to new social evil.

They pointed out that this flaw in NADRA's recent campaign can lead to major inconvenience for any family in Pakistan as the authority has launched the campaign without doing proper homework. Sources said that the criminals may get the names of family members of any Pakistani by this SMS service which may be used by them for any unlawful activity.

According to experts, "This service can be used for blackmailing any noble family by knowing their female family members' names." NADRA launched this respective service for registered families who can report individuals to authorities who were illegally registered under their family tree and they are to be rewarded with Rs 10,000 for identifying fake registered person in their family tree, experts said.

Sources said that NADRA will send messages from 8008 to family heads from July 1st in order to get confirmation of their registered numbers. However, the status can be checked even if you aren't the head of family.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan approved a plan for launching the CNICs re-verification drive from July 1st. On the other hand, experts questioned that at the time when NADRA is unable to resolve thousands of pending registration cases, how the authority will be able to re-verify the whole nation's CNICs.

Sources said that hundreds of citizens who have been issued CNIC's twice in the past are finding it difficult to get their cards renewed and baseless objections have been raised against their nationality adding that some of the affectees have been living in Pakistan since 1962 and they have valid proves of their stay and schooling . The irony of the matter is that not only the cards of the said victims have been blocked but the cards of their children and grand children have also been blocked.

It has been observed that numbers of citizens visit NADRA centres on daily basis to get their stuck CNICs, but their misery seems endless as NADRA has been found raising random objections on Pakistani nationals and term them aliens.