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Virtual ID System Introduces by UIDAI to Improve Aadhaar Privacy & Security

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UIDAI launched a new concept of Virtual ID which will give Aadhaar-card holders an option to not share their 12-digit biometric ID for SIM verification and other purposes. The virtual ID, which would be a random 16-digit number, will be used to authenticate Aadhaar holders through a new authentication method called Limited KYC.

The new virtual ID will give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication. The virtual ID can be used for verification. The user can also create as many virtual IDs as s/he wants, UIDAI said. Once the users create a new virtual ID, the old ID would automatically get cancelled. The Virtual ID would allow users to share limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification to any authorised agency like a mobile company.

HOW A VIRTUAL ID SYSTEM WILL WORK:

Once the users have created a Virtual ID, they will not have to share their Aadhaar number for verification or authentication.
The Virtual ID will be a 16-digit random number.

Under the Limited KYC concept, one can provide only need-based or limited details to an authorised agency for obtaining a particular service. This will prevent the agencies from storing your Aadhaar number. It is mandatory for all the agencies to adopt the new system by June 1, 2018. The Virtual ID will be accepted from March 1, 2018.

This has come a few days after a deputy director of UIDAI on January 8 had filed an FIR against The Tribune journalist who exposed how the Aadhaar details of millions of Indians are on sale for just Rs 500. Not just that, for Rs 300, one could even make a fake Aadhaar ID, the investigation report said. The FIR also mentions the names of one Anil Kumar and one Sunil Kumar who allegedly sold the data to the journalist.

The journalist had exposed that millions of Aadhaar details such as name, email ID, phone number, address, postal code (PIN) that individuals have submitted to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) could be accessed by paying just Rs 500.

An RBI-backed research note had also flagged some serious issues in the Aadhaar privacy.

“Aadhaar faces a number of challenges over the short and long-term. The primary challenge is to protect the data from prying and excessive profit-seeking excess of the business world,”

it said.

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