UIDAI announces virtual Aadhaar ID, hopes it will solve privacy problems

UIDAI announces virtual Aadhaar ID, hopes it will solve privacy problems”

The citizens will also have the choice for the reverse - which is to not generate their virtual IDs and continue using their Aadhaar numbers each time. "This is unparalleled in the world", UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.

UIDAI will start issuing Virtual ID from March 01, 2018. Only those with a valid Aadhaar number can generate their VID and revoke it after the UIDAI stipulates the minimum validity period.

Sunil also asserts that the most effective way to implement VID would be to ensure that no institution be allowed to store the Aadhaar number, unless absolutely necessary.

The order issued by the UIDAI on Wednesday would define two types of authentication agencies, as opposed to the earlier single Authentication User Agency, or AUA. As linking of Aadhaar to PAN card, social welfare and other schemes has become mandatory, users can also give their VID for authentication, till the time linking is not being done.

In a new circular, UIDAI recognises that the collection and storage of Aadhaar numbers by various entities has heightened privacy concerns [1] and that the Aadhaar number being irrevocable and permanent for life, there is need to provide a mechanism to ensure its continued use by the Aadhaar number holder while optimally protecting the collection and storage of Aadhaar number itself in many databases. There were further news reports of police reports being filed against the reporters, which were denied by UIDAI and MeitY. The UIDAI website will generate a 16-digit temporary Virtual ID. In the current system, the five details of the Aadhaar holder is shared - name, date of birth, address, photo and mobile number - with the service provider at the time of authentication.

When a person is required to provide his or her Aadhaar number, that user can visit UIDAI's official website or access mAadhaar app to quickly generate a 16-digit Virtual ID, which will act as a mask for the real 12-digit Aadhaar number.

VID can be generated only by the Aadhaar number holder.

What is Virtual ID (VID) and how is it different from your 12-digit Aadhaar number? The idea is to minimise sharing of the actual Aadhaar number or demographic information.

The Virtual ID is a random 16-digit number.

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. He added that the new two-step security process the Aadhaar authority is planning to introduce "eliminates all the arguments" against the biometric identification system.

"I think this is a very significant announcement by UIDAI and in some sense it really makes the case against it go away", he said.

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