Monday, 23 July, 2018


UIDAI introduces virtual ID, limited KYC for Aadhaar card holders

UIDAI's Virtual ID limited KYC does little to protect Aadhaar data already collected say critics UIDAI introduces virtual ID, limited KYC for Aadhaar card holders
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2018, 22:10

The move aims to strengthen the privacy and security of Aadhaar data and comes amid heightened concerns around the collection and storage of personal and demographic data of individuals.

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

Datar also said he did not know what the Centre was doing and added that he was "clueless" about how a Virtual ID would help address the issue of privacy, especially in rural areas. "I am clueless about how it is going to help or how it will work in rural areas", he said.

Reports says UIDAI will come out with an API to implement the virtual Aadhaar ID by March 1 and that a number of agencies that will be given access to do KYC using Aadhaar will have to implement it by June 2018. Since the system-generated VID will be mapped to an individual's Aadhaar number at the back end, it will do away with the need for the user to share Aadhaar number with sundry service agencies.

Aadhaar number holder can use VID in lieu of Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed.Authentication may be performed using VID in a manner similar to using Aadhaar number.

Officials said a user can generate as many Virtual IDs as he or she wants.

The second poll asked what should be the penalty for unauthorised access to Aadhaar details of masses by a citizen or an organisation, to which 14 per cent supported a five-year jail term and two per cent were in the favour of penalty of up to Rs 1 crore.

The government issued biometric Aadhaar identification cards have been under controversy over alleged data breaches, with the public raising questions on how safe the details provided in the cards are. This is an effort to curb the number of people who will have access to the Aadhaar number. 210 government published at least 13 crore Aadhaar numbers in the past and the risk of people having these numbers already is very high.

Moreover, this is useless in rural areas where paper-based copies of Aadhaar card are widely used, along with biometrics, to authenticate users, making the virtual ID layer of security an urban-centric stop-gap measure.

Putting up a robust defence of the ambitious scheme of providing a 12-digit unique identity number to the citizens of the country, Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said finger print and iris data stored in the Aadhaar system are safe and secure and can not be breached even by "billions of efforts". UIDAI will also generate UID tokens which will be used to identify customers within agencies' systems, but these will not be usable by other AUAs. The complete statement from UIDAI is available here.

A short while earlier, there had been allegations that leading Indian telco, Airtel had usedAadhaar details to establish e-KYC credentials of users and open their accounts on Airtel Payments Bank without their consent. But it later allowed Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till January 10 to facilitate linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs as per a Supreme Court directive. Global AUAs, potentially like banks will still need Aadhaar for Direct Benefit Transfers. That remains suspended till final enquiry and audit (here and here).

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