UIDAI announces virtual Aadhaar ID, hopes it will solve privacy problems

Elias Hubbard
January 12, 2018

"The virtual id is to be used only for local AUAs".

This was followed by a tweet from the official account of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) referring to the report as "fake news", last Thursday.

What is Virtual ID (VID)?

Where to get the VID? .

"Under compulsion, millions of persons have already shared Aadhaar number with many service providers".

Only the Aadhaar holder would be able to generate a VID. VIDs will self destruct after the valid time period expires.

The new proposed measures involve giving virtual identification for the ID holders, so that the actual Aadhaar numbers need not be shared by them to authenticate their identity.

Thus, already the database of Aadhaar card holders has been available to these American companies which are linked to U.S. security agencies, the editorial said. The Aadhaar holder will also have the option to take up Aadhaar authentication through the existing method, by quoting the UID. So far, these telecom giants have only made the IVR option functional while the online verification facility is still not available.

A VID is a temporary 16-digit number which is mapped with the Aadhaar number.

By 1 June all these agencies have to fully migrate to the new system unless it is likely to risk of losing their registration and fines.

"Aadhaar number holder can use Virtual ID in lieu of Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed".

UIDAI will categorize all AUAs into two categories - "Global AUAs" and "Local AUAs".

They can give this Virtual ID to service agencies along with the fingerprint at the time of authentication. "The concept is attractive, but the devil is in the details", observed Pavan Duggal, cyberlaw expert, adding that the new system does not address those who have already gained unauthorised access to Aadhaar numbers. The first kind of authentication agency would include banks and income tax authorities and would be granted complete access to an individual's details. Instead, they will get a tokenised number issued by UIDAI to identify their customers.

Data security concerns surrounding the government's Aadhaar project have generated a lot of heated public debate in the past few years. It will not reveal any of the user's Aadhaar details. The Punjab and Haryana High Court is scheduled to hear a PIL against UIDAI for this data leak today.

Meanwhile, Nandan Nilekani, the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said there was an "orchestrated campaign" to malign Aadhaar. While the Biometric data cannot be accessed, personal details can be used for marketing goal. About 43% of the respondents said that access to Aadhaar data should be limited to verification of only name and address for e-KYC where it is mandatory.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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