Virtual ID for Combating Aadhaar Data Theft!

January 05, 2018 12:00 AM
  • Virtual ID for Combating Aadhaar Data Theft logo

Aadhaar has become the Unique Identification document for every Indian. Personal details of Aadhaar holders are stored and maintained on the UIDAI database. The Government and UIDAI have now asked the masses to link their 12-digit Aadhaar with different institutions like banks, LPG, Mobile numbers etc. Promotions and awareness programs on Aadhaar are also being run by the authorities to familiarize people with this document and its benefits.

Aadhaar has also faced the fire with different issues related to the security and privacy of personal data including biometrics. It also has received criticism for various technical flaws and duplication issues, despite UIDAIs constant claims that Aadhaar data is safe, secure, and authentic.

The recent Tribune investigation on Aadhaar found disturbing details that took the internet by storm. Investigations have revealed that it takes only Rs.500 to access Aadhaar details of anyone registered with UIDAI and Rs.300 more for a printout of the Aadhaar document.

Tribune found the sellers on Whatsapp, providing unauthorized access to over a billion Aadhaar details. An anonymous agent provides a User ID and Password to a portal after receiving Rs.500 through Paytm. With the help of these credentials, the users can access billions of Aadhaar details that reveal personal information like address, phone number, age etc. For another Rs. 300 they install 'Software' remotely on the client computer which aid in printing the details of Aadhaar card. Surprisingly, it is reported to take only 10 minutes to run this entire process!

Fresh layer of security to strengthen privacy

Further to allegations and news of data theft, UIDAI has now provided various services for users to improve privacy and security of their Aadhaar data. It recently released news of introducing Virtual ID’s that prevent your Aadhaar number from being shared. This fresh layer of security helps 119 crore Aadhaar holders retain data security.

UIDAI has confirmed that it will issue Virtual IDS from March 2018. Instead of a 12-digit number, the Aadhaar holders can generate 16-digit temporary number (Virtual ID) that can be shared with any bank, insurance company or telecom service provider.

Currently, five details - name, date of birth, photo, address, and mobile number are shared with service providers at the time of authentication. Now Virtual ID can be given to service providers along with fingerprints at the time of authentication. Aadhaar holders can keep generating a new Virtual ID every time they have to share their unique ID. The new feature can be counted as a step towards the reduction of Aadhar data theft.

Here’s How it will work

  • The Aadhaar holder has to visit the official UIDAI website and log in by providing 12-digit Aadhaar number.

  • Now, you can generate a new 16-digit temporary ‘Virtual ID’ from the website.

  • Next, you need to submit Virtual ID to all service provider instead of Aadhaar number.

  • You can change Virtual ID any number of times online.

One can start generating Virtual IDs from 1st March 2018 and service providers must start accepting this from 1st June 2018.

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