The government of India has started looking into a report that a database with information on its more than 1 billion citizens is being sold online.

Citing The Tribune newspaper, Reuters reported that information on Indian citizens was being hawked on social media for $8. The paper said it purchased login credentials to the Aadhaar database, enabling it to access the names, telephone numbers and home addresses of millions of people. In exchange for the information, the newspaper paid $7.89 to a user on a WhatsApp social media group.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is in charge of the biometric identity card scheme, told Reuters it appears to be a case of misuse – but that crucial data, such as biometric information, is “safe and secure.”

“Mere display of demographic information can’t be misused without ,” it said in a statement. The agency also said access to bank accounts required more authentication via fingerprints and iris scans.

The breach is just the most recent controversy surrounding a program that has raised the ire of privacy advocates. The Supreme Court in India is currently holding hearings to decide if a push to link the database to private and public services would violate individuals’ privacy rights.

Source: PYMNTS