Telecom operators and the Unique Identification Authority of India have denied having anything to do with the ‘mysterious’ addition of the UIDAI’s former helpline to the contact lists of Android phone users in India.
That leaves only three candidates — Google, which makes Android, handset makers and any of the popular apps that has been granted the ‘contacts’ permission by the user.
Google is expected to respond on the subject shortly.
Android users in India have been anxious about ‘someone’ adding the number 1800 300 1947 to their contacts list.
The number has been found in nearly half the phones that have been checked by us, and multiple times in some cases.
Given that Android phones from nearly every brand have been found to have the phone number, it is unlikely to be any of the handset makers.
Similarly, the Android software that is pushed by Google is subjected to several modifications by handset vendors before it is installed on handsets. Moreover, Google’s subsequent software updates are mostly blocked by handset brands.
As such, it is almost impossible for Google to push the number to the phones as part of an update to its operating system.
Therefore, the likely scenario is that the number has been added by an app that could be made by Google or any application maker.
Android apps have the ability to add any number to the contact list of the user without the user’s knowledge, once the user has given the ‘contacts’ permission to the app at the time of the installation.
A user can find out which of his apps have been given the permission to manage his contacts by going to ‘Settings’ and the ‘Apps & Permissions’ section.
For now, however, no app maker has come forward to take responsibility for adding former UIDAI helpline number to users’ phones.
Users who are worried about apps adding entries to their contact list can safely turn off the ‘contacts permission’ given to all apps by going to their settings.