“Data Security” issue: Aadhar card

“Data Security” issue: Aadhar card

Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has withdrawn the advisory not to share photocopies of Aadhar card with institutions.

  • MeitY has withdrawn the recently issued advisory by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Under this, the general public was warned to share the photocopy of their Aadhar card with every organization. According to the ministry, this advisory of UIDAI could have been misinterpreted.
  • UIDAI is a statutory body. It has been entrusted with the task of collecting Aadhaar data.
  • The Aadhaar Identity Verification System has provided ample facilities to protect the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar card holder.

Measures to ensure the security of Aadhaar data:

  • Masked Aadhaar: This system was introduced in the year 2021 to prevent misuse of personal information. Under this, only the last 4 digits of the Aadhaar number are displayed.
  • Two level verification: Aadhaar is linked with primary mobile number and email ID. If someone tries to access the Aadhaar account or uses it for any verification, UIDAI will send a One-Time Password (OTP) to the Aadhaar holder.
  • Locking of Biometrics: This prevents potential misuse of biometrics data of residents. When a person locks their biometrics (fingerprint, iris and face recognition), they cannot be used for verification.
  • Using Virtual Identity (VID): Limited KYC (Know Your Customer) system is used for this. It hides the Aadhaar number from the authentication agency while verifying the identity of the user. This is a 16 digit number. It is temporary in nature and is valid only for a short period of time.

Who has the right to ask for Aadhaar number for identity verification?

  • Only those organizations which have obtained user license from UIDAI. They can use Aadhaar to establish the identity of an individual.
  • Unlicensed private entities like hotels or film halls are not allowed to collect or keep copies of Aadhar cards. This is an offense under the Aadhaar Act, 2016. However, many private entities in the country insist on Aadhaar cards, and users often share their details with them.

Source – The Hindu

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