Fire at Indian UID data center, but citizen info safe

Building that houses data center of India's Unique ID Project (UID) catches fire, but government says little data stored inside and backups available at several locations across country.

A fire broke out in the building which houses the data center for India's Unique ID Project (UID), putting the personal and biometric records of Indian citizens at risk. The government, though, has said backups of the data are available. 

The fire took place in the "Knowledge Park" building in Greater Noida, Gautam Budh Nagar district of India, where the data center was located on the third floor, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday, citing a spokesperson from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The government official, however, said the data center was a small subset of the main data center in Bangalore, and little data had been stored there. The fire also did not reach the upper floor which housed the data center, and no data had been harmed as the government had backups at three to four locations across the country, he added.

About 150 out of 250 servers at the facility were rendered unusable due to the carbon soot deposition from the fire, sources at UIDAI told the Indian news site. Networking equipment by Cisco Systems and storage equipment by EMC were also damaged.

No details were available regarding the cause of the fire. 

India's UID project, locally known as Aadhaar, aims to gather biometric information of the country's 1.2 billion residents to help identify Indians in need of help and steer government welfare away from wrong hands. It is touted as the world's biggest biometrics project.