Trolls claim they spammed Trai chief’s mobile, placed COD orders ‘for him’

On Tuesday, a number of people claimed on social media that they had used information disclosed about Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman RS Sharma to “deliberately harass” him.

Many claimed that they had “deluged” his mobile number with telecom complaints. Some said they had registered themselves as ‘RS Sharma’ on several e-commerce sites using his email address, mobile number and house address and had placed cash on delivery (CoD) orders.

TOI could not confirm any of these claims.

All this was in response to Sharma putting out his Aadhaar number on Twitter on Saturday and challenging people to cause him harm. His objective was to prove that mere knowledge of someone’s Aadhaar number would not make the person vulnerable.

Within hours, a slew of personal information about Sharma, including his bank account details, was put out in public by ethical hackers and security researchers, many of whom said they had obtained the information using his Aadhaar number.

Sharma, however, claimed that much of this information was available in public domain and also braved it out saying no one had yet harmed him.

The telecom complaints and CoD orders – if indeed they were made – were attempts to send a signal to Sharma that it is possible to cause “at least some amount of harm” if one’s Aadhaar details are known. Ethical hackers said they could not violate the law and go to the extent of, say, hacking bank accounts. Some claimed they had ordered items like toothpastes and towels on Sharma’s behalf.

However, some claims were clearly fake. It was claimed that an OnePlus 6 and an iPhone X had been ordered for Sharma on an e-commerce website. The site pointed out that pay-on-delivery option is only for orders less than Rs 30,000. Both those phone models are priced above this limit.