Virtual Aadhaar IDs to plug data breach


Aadhaar holders can use it in lieu of their Aadhaar number to avoid sharing of the Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, said a circular issued by UIDAI.

According to a report, the UIDAI claims that they were working on a "Virtual ID" for months, and the announcement was made at a time privacy concerns around Aadhaar peaked after a newspaper exposes on unauthorised access of its database earlier this month.

Several representations have been received from individuals such as NRIs, PIOs and OCIs informing about difficulties being faced by them on demand of Aadhaar by respective authorities in respect of various services and benefits. "And by June 1, all agencies would have to fully migrate to the new system", it said.

The Tribune reported that an administrator login ID and password to gain access to the UIDAI portal could be acquired for Rs. 500, which would provide access to demographic details of Aadhaar holders simply by keying in ID numbers. "Last digit of the VID is the checksum using "Verhoeff" algorithm as in Aadhaar number".

Another important part of this move is that a user can generate as many virtual IDs as he or she wants.

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The UIDAI also introduced the concept of "limited KYC", under which it will only provide need-based or limited details of a user to an authorised agency that is providing a particular service, say, a telco.

Recently a report has stated that, the UDAI is going to introduce the virtual ID and also limit the Know Your Customer (KYC) to prevent from Aadhar Data breech. The older ID would get automatically cancelled once a fresh one is generated.

Agencies that undertake the authentication process would not be allowed to generate the virtual ID on behalf of the user.

The virtual ID facility will start from March 1 and authentication agencies will be required to start implementing the plan by March-end. Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, who blew the lid off United States surveillance on phone as well as internet communications, also said the Indian government should reform its policy to safeguard the privacy of its citizens.

The research paper by Ananth has flagged the issues related to Aadhaar saying there needs to be caution in the manner in which the government is linking more economic programmes and activities with Aadhaar.