UIDAI Introduces Aadhaar Virtual ID and Limited KYC

Chidambaram. File

Chidambaram. File

The media coverage about the possible misuse of Aadhaar data brought the government authority on the back foot, following which the UIDAI has launched a unique option on its website called "Verify Aadhaar number".

Virtual Aadhaar ID: How Will It Work?

The Communist Party of India-Marxist also pointed out that petitions against Aadhaar had been pending before the Supreme Court for the past five years.

Now, while Nilekani himself has asserted that virtual IDs would be fool-proof, tech experts and Aadhaar critics say it's not going to be so.

The UIDAI had yesterday introduced the concept of "Virtual ID", which an Aadhaar card holder can generate from its website and give out for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.

Where to get the VID? .

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The last digit of the VID is the checksum using "Verhoeff" algorithm as in Aadhaar number. One can select to use the Virtual ID as many times as one wants, or keep generating a new one every time you have to share your unique ID.

Moreover, what about the Aadhaar numbers already leaked through portal access sales, which had given out the "unique" Aadhaar numbers to those with nefarious intentions, thereby exposing them to threats even in the future. VIDs will self destruct after the valid time period expires.

When applying for a new phone number, for example, the consumer need not share his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication. VIDs being temporary can not be de-duplicated and as an added precaution, agencies that undertake authentication will not be allowed to generate VIDs on behalf of Aadhaar holders. All authentication bodies have to fully migrate to the new system by June 1, and those failing to meet the deadline will face financial disincentives.

"Aadhaar number holder can use Virtual ID in lieu of Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed". The limited KYC categories will be "local AUAs".

Given that the VID is aimed to safeguard the Aadhaar details, we hope there is no further security breach in the case of Aadhaar number in the future. Almost 1.2 billion Aadhaar numbers have been issued till date, with over 99% of adults having the number by 2017.

When will the limited KYC and UID Tokens be in place?

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This new security mechanism will kickstart from March 2018.

Why did UIDAI feel the need for this new two-tier security system?

The Aadhaar debate just doesn't seem to settle anytime soon.

UIDAI will take a view on the issue on 10 February after taking into account the final audit report of the DoT, the RBI and others on the matter, said a report by PTI on Thursday, quoting officials. While the Biometric data cannot be accessed, personal details can be used for marketing goal.

In 2010, over 200 government agencies (with access to the accounts) accidentally published sensitive Aadhaar info online, and since 2015, banking fraud has run rampant on Aadhaar users, with identity thieves attempting to open bank accounts in their names.

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