Cookies set by UIDAI in violation of own Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy page on the UIDAI website claims to not use cookies. This is their section on use of cookies:


A cookie is a piece of software code that an Internet website sends to your browser when you access information in that site. This site does not use cookies.

However, there are actually several cookies set on visiting the website, notably from Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and the UIDAI itself.

Cookies set by UIDAI in violation of own Privacy Policy Cookies set by UIDAI in violation of own Privacy Policy[/caption]

These cookies can allow the sites setting them to track information on people visiting the UIDAI website. While the use of such cookies is common, the legal way to use them is to disclose that they are in use and the kind of data they collect and for what purpose. Nor is it necessary that cookies are used for spying or profiling. A cookie is simply a line of text stored in the browser that is sent to the server with each request. While it could be used to store identifiable data, and Facebook has faced criticism in the past for tracking user behavior, it can also store simple non-identifiable session information that makes the usage of the site easier.

Deliberately lying about the use of cookies makes no sense, since anyone can check the cookies used by a website in their browser.

Clearing the cookies and returning to the page still resulted in these cookies being set.

The UIDAI cookie monster
The UIDAI cookie monster

This is basically yet another example of UIDAI making tall claims – in this instance the assurance of not tracking any information at all by not using any cookies – that the quality of its technological practices cannot fulfill.

The UIDAI should have responsible disclosure of data collection they allow. And not just about cookie usage.

Vidyut is a commentator on socio-political issues with a keen understanding of tech and policy. She has been observing and commenting on Aadhaar since 2010 from a perspective of human rights, democracy and technological robustness.

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