New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) The UIDAI today sought to ease concerns over any potential misuse of Aadhaar data, asserting that it keeps a constant vigil to ensure that user data is fully protected, and that the biometric identifier is backed by strong laws.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) also said that banks can continue to link Aadhaar with bank accounts, but that accounts cannot not be deactivated for the lack of Aadhaar, till the Supreme Court verdict is pronounced.

“As far as Aadhaar data is concerned, data is fully protected. Yesterday, I presented before the Supreme Court that there is not a single breach from the Aadhaar system during the last seven years. We are constantly on vigil,” UIDAI CEO, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, told reporters on the sidelines of GSTN Foundation Day.

Stating that the nodal authority for Aadhaar is well aware of the new threats that are emerging, Pandey asserted that UIDAI remains committed to keeping the data safe at all times.

“In the IT world, new technologies are coming. While it is enabling the people, it is also enabling the other side who do not have good intentions. So what we need to do is keep upgrading our technology, keep assessing what new technology our opponents would apply, how to take proactive steps in time, so that our data remains safe…,” Pandey said.

“We are constantly on vigil. We are also aware that new threats are emerging and we have to not only keep data safe today, but also keep it safe tomorrow,” he said.

Pandey said that UIDAI is extremely serious about data protection, and added that Aadhaar is governed by strong laws that prevent data misuse or any breach into the Aadhaar system.

“We have taken all possible measures to ensure that the data remains safe,” he said.

The top court, on March 13, indefinitely extended the March 31 deadline for linking bank accounts and mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar.

Pandey today said that Supreme Court had not given a stay order.

“The court has extended the last date for linking till the date of judgement. During this process, banks can continue to provide the facility and people can link…But any deactivation or adverse consequences will happen only after the judgement of court,” he said.

The comments come at a time when the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act and the use of biometric identifier in various government and non-government services.

Yesterday, Pandey concluded his presentation in the Supreme Court to defend the government’s ambitious Aadhaar scheme. The hearing on the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law would resume on April 3.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.