Aadhaar adds fresh security layer

Unique Identification Authority of India has unveiled a fresh layer of security—a ‘Virtual ID’ to prevent your Aadhaar details from being shared — as it sought to address privacy and security concerns. It also added a safety feature to ensure only need-based sharing of information, by way of a limited KYC, even as it asserted that the system and data were safe.

UIDAI’s Virtual ID, which will be issued from March, will allow over 119 crore Aadhaar holders to generate a 16-digit temporary number that can be shared with a bank, insurance firm or telecom service provider instead of the 12-digit Aadhaar number. All service providers must upgrade their systems to mandatorily allow for the new tool from June. You can opt to use the Virtual ID as many times as you want, or keep generating a new one every time you have to share your unique ID.

“It will not be possible to locate an individual’s Aadhaar number by using the Virtual ID,” an official said.

The other safety feature introduced relates to limited sharing of information, again aimed at preventing possible misuse and data theft. Instead of the current system where the five details — name, date of birth, photo, address and mobile number—are shared with the service provider at the time of authentication, the new feature will allow only need-based sharing of data. For instance, if you are seeking a new mobile connection, the service provider will only get your name, photo and address. However, for a passport, all your data may be shared.

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