Coming soon is a powerful “ Aadhaar App“ which will allow people to “lock“ their biometrics, have an “inbox“ with their transaction history along with a dynamic one-time password a la Google Authenticator, that generates security codes to access Gmail which change every few seconds. The app will also store a digitally signed Aadhaar which can be “shared“ through email or Bluetooth with a service provider say a bank or telecom operator, reducing the need to carry a physical copy of the Aadhaar card.
The app, which will be ready to be launched over the next three to six months, is being developed internally and will be first enabled for Android phones, followed by those of Apple and Microsoft operating systems, Ajay Bhusan Pandey , CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said.
For example, a new feature of locking one's biometrics will be powered through the app and each time a person needs to authenticate through their biometrics, they can just unlock it through their phone app. The biometrics will be unlocked for 20 minutes or till the first successful transaction and will be locked automatically again. This will reduce the concerns regarding misuse of people's biometrics and is a “very forward looking feature,“ said Pramod Varma, chief architect and technology advisor, UIDAI. “We wish credit cards also had this kind of a feature,“ he added. Varma said that the app will be password protected to ensure that it is not misused in the event of somebody's phone being lost or stolen.
After every Aadhaar authentication, a person who has shared their email address gets an email, in addition to that, it will be possible to get a transaction history of all such authentications. The app, will also have an inbox that will store all the past transactions or authentications, which have been done through Aadhaar and will help people keep a transaction history which they can routinely keep checking to ensure that their Aadhaar number has not been misused. The UIDAI may delete these records after a stipulated period of time but a person can choose to keep their records for as long as they want in the app. Varma said that it will be like a credit card statement of sorts.“It's all about creating transparency , you can authenticate using Aadhaar and at the same time have access to your data, so that there are no concerns.“
Earlier this week, the government notified a set of five new regulations to take care of the data security and privacy issues as well as address the political concerns that people could be denied benefits for want of an Aadhaar. Another feature of the app will be a “dynamic one-time password“ which will be always available on the app. Pandey said that when people use their Aadhaar to authenticate a transaction, they get an OTP on their mobile. Sometimes this OTP is not delivered due to connectivity issues delaying the transaction.