The Unique Identification Authority of India said on Saturday that people should take “due precautions” when they share their Aadhaar number on the internet, or with any vendor or service provider to avail services.

However, the UIDAI added that publication of Aadhaar cards online by some individuals had no impact on the security of the biometric identity card. “UIDAI has advised people not to get carried away or confused with some news appearing on social and other media of the PDF of their Aadhaar being available on a Google search,” the agency said.

The agency said such reports were intended to spread misinformation about the “robust” identification system of Aadhaar. It called the reports “intentional and irresponsible acts of some unscrupulous individuals”.

The UIDAI said that none of the Aadhaar cards displayed following a Google search had been taken from its database. It claimed that there had not been a single breach of data from its biometric database during that last eight years.

But the agency added, “Aadhaar as an identity document by its very nature needs to be shared openly with others as and when required and asked for. Aadhaar just like any other ID, therefore, is never to be treated as a confidential document.”

The agency claimed that it was impossible to impersonate and harm an individual simply by knowing his or her Aadhaar number, as biometric identification was necessary. “If anybody unauthorisedly publishes someone’s personal information such as Aadhaar card, mobile number, bank account, photograph etc, he can be sued for civil damages by the person whose privacy has been infringed,” UIDAI said.

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the biometric identification programme. On March 13, the court indefinitely extended the deadline for the mandatory linking of Aadhaar. The earlier deadline was March 31.