Amidst privacy concerns, UIDAI restricts use of Aadhaar numbers

Amidst privacy concerns, UIDAI restricts use of Aadhaar numbers

After all the controversies regarding the use and leaks of data, the Unique Identification Authority of India has introduced one of the most important changes since its inception regarding the use of Aadhaar as an identification proof of a person.

To restrict the usage of Aadhaar number it has introduced Virtual IDs (VID), which any Aadhaar holder will be able to generate for a temporary period and can use in place of the Aadhaar number to validate her or his identity. The parent body of the Aadhaar project has also brought in Limited KYC (Know Your Customer) and UID Tokens, in an attempt to assuage the privacy and security concerns as the Aadhaar numbers were being used and stored by many public and private entities.

In a circular issued on Wednesday the UIDAI described how the VID will work. It will be a 16-digit number that can be used by an Aadhaar-holder in place of the Aadhaar number “to avoid the need of sharing of the Aadhaar number at the time of authentication”. This, UIDAI said, will reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

The VID will be a temporary a 16-digit random number “mapped with the Aadhaar number”. The UID said the VID will not be able to derive the person’s Aadhaar number. For any given Aadhaar number there will only be one active VID at any given time, further it can be revoked or a new one can be generated after a maximum validity period by person who holds that Aadhaar number. Since it will be temporary, the UIDAI said, it can’t be de-duplicated, nor will agencies be able to generate a VID on behalf of the Aadhaar-number holder.

The options to generate, retrieve or replace VIDs by the holder of an Aadhaar number will be available through UIDAI’s portal, enrolment centers, Aadhaar’s mobile app etc.

Additionally, to “regulate” the number of agencies where Aadhaar number is required as a proof of identity, and stored, to avail services, the UIDAI also introduced the concept of Limited KYC. It will divide the Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) into two categories: Global AUAs and Local AUAs. Only agencies whose services require them to store the Aadhaar number as per the laws will be qualified as Global AUAs and allowed to store the Aadhaar numbers.


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