UIDAI Announces Virtual Aadhaar ID, Hopefully Will Solve Privacy Problems

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New Delhi: UIDAI, the authority that looks after the Aadhaar programme, has reportedly announced creating of a new virtual ID system that will be built on top of Aadhaar. This ID will be used to authenticate Aadhaar users through a new authentication method that UIDAI is calling Limited KYC.

The details of this new virtual ID that UIDAI is creating are still coming in so for now it is not clear how it will work. But it seems the idea is to create a virtual ID linked with the Aadhaar number, which will be linked with your profile. In public, for authentication purposes only the virtual ID will be used. Hence, UIDAI believes the Aadhaar users will not have to share their 12-digit number for authentication purposes.

Reports says UIDAI will come out with an API to implement the virtual Aadhaar ID by March 1 and that a number of agencies that will be given access to do KYC using Aadhaar will have to implement it by June 2018.

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.

However, in the wake of the news UIDAI claimed that Aadhaar was completely secure and that leaking of demographic details didn’t matter.

But the announcement of the virtual Aadhaar ID sure hints that something was broken earlier that UIDAI is now trying to fix. Although whether the latest initiative from UIDAI fixes Aadhaar problems or not is something that will be clear only when more details of the virtual Aadhaar ID are revealed.

There are some more details now, although they come courtesy the Economic Times website and are yet to be officially confirmed by UIDAI or any other government agency. The report says that the virtual Aadhaar ID will have 16-digits and that this will be the only information that any agency or entity doing authentication will have. The idea is to minimise sharing of the actual Aadhaar number or demographic information. However, the questions remain about how the Limited KYC will work and how the virtual Aadhaar IDs will be generated. May be in the coming days UIDAI will share more information.

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