UIDAI Introduces 16-Digit Virtual Aadhaar ID For More Security!

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

Since the system-generated VID will be mapped to an individual's Aadhaar number at the back end, it will do away with the need for the user to share Aadhaar number with sundry service agencies. How to use Aadhaar Virtual ID or VIDAadhaar holders will be able to use Virtual ID or VID in place of Aadhaar number for any service where they are required to use Aadhaar authentication, according to the UIDAI.

To enable the local AUA to uniquely identify customers in a limited e-KYC environment-since the virtual ID is a temporary number and storage of Aadhaar is restricted-UIDAI is launching a token mechanism.

Considering the problems specifically faced by NRIs, senior citizens, handicapped people or even those whose fingerprints have worn out, DoT's December notification explained in detail the strict protocol that has to be followed while doing the verification for NRIs, senior citizens and resident Indians who do not have Aadhaar or if their mobile number is not registered in the UIDAI database. One can select to use the Virtual ID as many times as one wants, or keep generating a new one every time you have to share your unique ID. This will, in turn, reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

The move to introduce an "untested" virtual ID to address security concerns over Aadhaar database is a step in the right direction, but may be a case of too little, too late, according to experts, as numerous 119 crore Aadhaar holders have already shared their 12-digit numbers with various entities.

A day after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) introduced a new safety feature "Virtual ID" to safeguard Aadhaar data, several voices questioning the move have been raised.

The changes have again been met with various opinions, with critics calling it unworkable.

This Virtual ID can be generated as many times as possible. The Economic Times reported that following the article, UIDAI restricted the access of all designated officials, numbering about 5,000 to the said Aadhaar portal. "In the hearing next week, we will oppose it tooth and nail", the petitioner added.

The announcement of the virtual Aadhaar ID comes days after newspaper Tribune exposed how insecure was the Aadhaar authentication system and how it was leaking information of over a billion Aadhaar holders, including their Aadhaar number and demographic details.

UIDAI had temporarily barred Airtel from conducting the Aadhaar-based eKYC, after the telco allegedly opened accounts of its mobile phone subscribers without seeking their "informed consent", and deposited LPG subsidy worth crores into them. "Classical Case of dual uses of Technology (sic)", he said in a tweet on Wednesday.

UIDAI will also be releasing necessary APIs (application programming interfaces) by March 1.

Starting 1st June, authorized agencies would be mandated to accept Virtual IDs for KYC or any other verification process.