UIDAI introduces 'Virtual ID' to strengthen security of Aadhaar data

UIDAI announces virtual Aadhaar ID hopes it will solve privacy problems

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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.

People who have the UIDAI's biometric identification will soon be able generate a virtual ID for various authentication purposes, instead of having to give the actual 12-digit number linked to iris- and finger-prints. Under the newly introduced system, an Aadhaar holder will be soon given the choice of not sharing their Aadhaar ID during the authentication process.

Aadhaar-body UIDAI today announced a new two-layer key system to strengthen the security of Aadhaar holders. It will not be possible to derive Aadhaar number from VID.

By paying Rs 300 more, the details of any Aadhaar card can be printed, the report called it a "major security breach", quoting the deputy director of UIDAI regional officer Chandigarh. Instead, a random 16-digit "Virtual ID" number would be generated and could be used in lieu of Aadhaar with the authorised agency like banks and telecom service providers.

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Authentication may be performed using VID in a manner similar to using Aadhaar number. This will be a 16-digit number and will be valid only for a limited period of time. This will eliminate many agencies storing Aadhaar numbers while enabling paperless KYC. This token will remain unique for an Aadhaar number for all authentication requests by that particular entity - however for a particular Aadhaar number, there will be different tokens when it comes to different AUAs and sub AUAs.

However, linking of the Aadhaar number with various bank accounts, PAN card and various other welfare schemes has to be done before March 31, 2018.

"UIDAI will provide various options to Aadhaar number holders to generate their VID, retrieve their VID in case they forget, and replace their VID with a new number".

The UIDAI plans on rolling out "necessary APIs with implementation" by March 1, 2018 and all agencies will have to migrate to the new system by June 1, 2018 failing which their authentication services will be discontinued.

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