Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

UIDAI introduces Virtual ID & limited KYC to address Aadhaar privacy concerns

UIDAI introduces Virtual ID & limited KYC to address Aadhaar privacy concerns

Instead of revealing the Aadhaar number, the limited KYC system will generate a unique ID for the different agencies that need the Aadhaar details.

The Virtual ID will be a 16-digit random number.

From June 1, agencies that need the Aadhaar to verify a person's identity will have to depend only on the virtual ID.

Recently, UIDAI was under tremendous pressure, thanks to an Aadhaar-data leak claim at just Rs 500 from the Tribune newspaper. This Virtual ID, instead of the Aadhaar number, can then be used for purposes, including SIM verification, linking to bank account, and more. And the moment a new ID is generated, the older one gets deactivated.

Reportedly, agencies which will not adhere to the new authentication system will have to face "financial disincentives".

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The VID will be a temporary number "mapped with the Aadhaar number".

Amid privacy concerns linked to the Aadhaar project, the Unique Identification Authority of India aka UIDAI has launched a two-layered safety net feature to avoid data breaches. Additionally, to "regulate" the number of agencies where Aadhaar is required and stored as a proof of identity to avail services, the UIDAI has introduced the concept of Limited KYC. Non-government technology research groups such as Centre for Internet and Society's executive director Sunil Abraham, who had been pushing for introducing Virtual IDs, had faulted the UIDAI architecture for being too trusting of the KYC user agencies and called for safeguards.

The UID Token, the Aadhaar-issuing body said in the circular, "allows an agency to ensure uniqueness of its beneficiaries, customers etc. without having to store the Aadhaar number in their databases while not being able to merge databases across agencies thus enhancing privacy substantially".

Additionally, as per the UIDAI, agencies that undertake authentication would not be allowed to generate the VID on behalf of the Aadhaar holder.

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