In response to the controversy over how UIDAI’s helpline number was present as a default on a majority of Indian mobile users, Google India claimed that it had coded the UIDAI helpline number in along with the 112 distress helpline number in 2014.
But, documents with the Trai show that the recommendation was first made only in April 2015 and implementation of this through the government orders occurred in May 2016.
In a release, dated April 9, 2015, Trai has said, “To faciliate establishment of an efficient and robust integrated emergency communication and response system (IECRS) in India, the Trai has suo-moto issued recommendations on implementation of single number based IECRS…among the recommendations, the salient features are i) Number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for India.”
This discrepancy was first spotted by ethical hacker Kanishk Sajnani who tweeted, “Is @GoogleIndia caught lying? If the 112 (Distress number) was only proposed on 7th April ’15 & became functional around 1st Jan ’17, how’s it possible that they “inadvertently” coded it in their Setup wizard way back in 2014?”
Google India in a statement on Friday said, “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 have remained there since. Since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device.”
But contradictory to Google’s claim, government orders show the recommendations made by Trai in April 2015, was approved by the Telecom Commission for public implementation only on March 29, 2016.
Google India is yet to respond for requests for comment.