Monday, 25 June, 2018

Aadhaar adds fresh security layer with 16-digit 'Virtual ID'

Aadhaar cards Aadhaar cards
Ellis Copeland | 12 January, 2018, 18:36

The UIDAI - the authority that runs the government's Aadhaar program - said that the initiative is aimed at minimising instances of leak and misuse of Aadhaar numbers and would also enhance the privacy of the 119 crore people issued the identification number.

The spokesman said that most of the NRIs, PIOs and OCIs may not be eligible for the Aadhaar enrollment as per the Act.

The Tribune published an expose on 3 January about a truly shocking and massive data breach of Aadhaar data, claiming that it took the newspaper just Rs 500 and 10 minutes to get an agent to give them access to every detail any individual has provided the UIDAI. Earlier, a think tank affiliated with the Reserve Bank of India had also flagged problems related to the Aadhaar system, including security concerns, the quality of authentication, and its unclear financial benefits.

All agencies will migrate to the new system by June 1, the UIDAI said.

The new move is an attempt to address the privacy and security concerns of Aadhaar data and comes amid heightened concerns around the collection and storage of personal and demographic data of individuals. "Aadhaar holder can use Virtual ID in lieu of Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed".

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The second provision that the UIDAI has introduced is a limited KYC (Know your customer) service.

The Virtual ID, which would be a random 16-digit number, together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification. "VID is revocable and can be replaced by a new one by Aadhaar number holder after the minimum validity period set by UIDAI policy", the authority added.

The agencies will not be allowed to generate a virtual ID on behalf of the holder.

The virtual ID facility will start from March 1 and authentication agencies will be required to start implementing the plan by March-end.

The government authority in charge of India's billion-records-and-counting Aadhaar biometric identity database, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), has suspended 5,000 officials from accessing the system.

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