Google Comes Clean On UIDAI Number In Indian Android Contacts Lists

Google Comes Clean On UIDAI Number In Indian Android Contacts Lists

In India, many Android device users ended up with a strange number on their contacts list. The number in question was 1-800-300-1947, the old number for the Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI. Eventually, the number appeared on iPhones where the owner imported contacts from an Android.

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UIDAI was formed by the Indian government in 2009 and operates under the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information. The Authority is responsible for issuing the 12-digit identification number called aadhaar–basically a social security number. Aadhaar are tied to an individual as a means to collect demographic information and prevent all manner of identity fraud.

So what does this have to do with this mystery number? UIDAI stated it didn’t push the number onto devices’ contact numbers. It stated, “UIDAI has reiterated that it has not asked or advised anyone including any telecom service providers or mobile manufacturers or Android to include 1800-300-1947 or 1947 in the default list of public service numbers.”

The number caused a lot of concern and many went to Twitter for answers. Some sleuths decided to find out who could be responsible for the number ending up on Android devices as well as some iPhones. One conclusion points the finger at Google since several tests revealed that the number only hits phones made in India. Another theory is that service providers are responsible. Eventually, Google came clean and said it put the number on devices.

Our internal review has revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since,” Google said in a statement to the Economic Times.  “Since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device.”

The company apologized for the concern raised and stated that it was working on a fix that will be included in an update to the SetUp wizard–over the next couple of weeks.


Starting with Kabir News in 2013, James has focused on tech, gaming, and entertainment. When not writing, he enjoys catching up on sci-fi and horror shows and comics. He can be followed on Twitter @MetalSwift.

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