Innovations can't be killed under 'garb of privacy': Centre on Aadhaar

Ajay Bhushan Pandey spoke to NDTV about virtual ID

Ajay Bhushan Pandey spoke to NDTV about virtual ID

According to a report, the UIDAI claims that they are now busy working on a "Virtual ID" for months, and the declared was made at a time privacy concerns around Aadhaar peaked.

The VID is revocable and can be replaced by a new one by Aadhaar number holder after the minimum validity period set by UIDAI.

The report shows how Nilekani's personal information is still available online, and that the man steering the UIDAI ship was himself unaware of the huge breach of his own confidential information that had occurred when he posted the picture of his Aadhaar card, with the QR code intact. So, unless the latter is stored in the smart card, people may continue to use their Aadhaar numbers, he explains.

Consequently, Airtel Payments Bank terminated relationships with as many as 1,000 retailers for not following the due process while signing up customers, after the banking arm of Sunil Mittal-founded telecom carrier, conducted internal investigations to zero in on errors and lapses that led to its Aadhaar-based e-KYC licence getting suspended. This, UIDAI said, will reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

"They should re-issue the compromised Aadhaar IDs and revoke the existing KYCs", he says.

The virtual identification code together with biometrics of the user would give any authorized agency limited details like name, address, and photograph, which are enough for any verification.

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"Unless all entities are required to use virtual IDs or UID tokens, and are barred from storing Aadhaar numbers, the new measures won't really help", said Pranesh Prakash, Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society, Bengaluru.

It will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users from 1 June 2018. This, UIDAI hopes, will ensure that no one, except the holder, can access the person's Aadhaar number.

A new Virtual ID can be now created for every Aadhaar card, which can be used whenever a 3rd party requires Aadhaar number for any verification or KYC process.

UIDAI has been under the radar of various media agencies for some time now.

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.

Following the reports, the UIDAI also filed a case against the news agency - The Tribune. Having your Aadhaar and bank account details just lends the attacker more credibility. Subsequently, UIDAI temporarily barred Airtel and its payments bank service from using Aadhaar to verify users.

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