UIDAI, the government body responsible for running the Aadhaar scheme, announced on Wednesday ‘virtual ID’ that Aadhaar card holders can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.
This will give users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication. The scheme will be made available from March 1. From June 1, it will be compulsory for all agencies to accept the virtual ID.
The ID would be a random 16-digit number. This, together with biometrics of the user, would be used by authorised agencies for identification. The ID limits sharing of details to name, address, photograph, etc.
UIDAI officials said that a user can generate as many virtual IDs as she wants because the older ID gets automatically cancelled once a new one is generated, reported The Times of India.
UIDAI will also introduce a limited KYC service that does not return Aadhaar number and only provides an ‘agency-specific’ unique UID token to eliminate many agencies from storing Aadhaar numbers while still enabling their own paperless KYC.
This comes after The Tribune’s report which claimed that anonymous agents on Whatsapp were selling access to Aadhaar database. A lot of questions were raised on UIDAI’s ability to secure the Aadhaar details of over 119 crore people.
While the virtual ID scheme would not give us the option to not share our Aadhaar number with authorised agencies, the issue of data breach from government websites itself, duplicate Aadhaar cards, still remains. The Logical Indian community hopes that the UIDAI fixes all loopholes.