Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Aadhaar Virtual ID: Here's what ex-Finance Minister Chidambaram has to say

Aadhaar Virtual ID: Here's what ex-Finance Minister Chidambaram has to say

"UIDAI needs to re-issue fresh Aadhaar numbers to solve the problem, which is highly unlikely", said Srinivas Kodali, an independent data security researcher, to Medianama, a portal for information and analysis on digital and telecom businesses in India.

"I do not have an opinion on this". Pandey told ET that in case service providers resort to unscrupulous means of retrieving the Aadhaar number, they will be conducting a "criminal offence" and will be punished by the law. According to the UIDAI, agencies that start authentication will not be permitted to produce Virtual IDs on behalf of Aadhaar holders.

Here's a 9-point explainer on how Virtual ID is supposed to work - and if it addresses security concerns.

This is a temporary 16-digit, randomly-generated number that an Aadhaar holder can use for authentication or KYC services along with his/her fingerprint instead in lieu of the Aadhaar number. Aadhaar number holders can generate this from the official website and use it in place of original Aadhaar number.

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The virtual ID will be a 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number. For instance, if one wants to get a new mobile connection, she/he can provide the Virtual ID to the service provider, reports The Indian Express. "The concept is attractive, but the devil is in the details", observed Pavan Duggal, cyberlaw expert, adding that the new system does not address those who have already gained unauthorised access to Aadhaar numbers. As a category of AUA, the limited KYC category would be providing only need-based details of user to an authorized agency. The report debunked the stand of UIDAI and the government that its database can not be breached. Only the Aadhaar number holder can generate the VID.

The government issued biometric Aadhaar identification cards have been under controversy over alleged data breaches, with the public raising questions on how safe the details provided in the cards are. It will not be possible to find an Aadhaar number by using the Virtual ID. This will, in turn, reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

"And at that time, it was felt that let us first give Aadhaar number, let us see how it plays out and then, at an appropriate time, this will be introduced", he said. This will be a 16-digit number and will be valid only for a limited period of time.

The Delhi police filed an "open-ended FIR" following a complaint by the Unique Identification Authority of India against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter. But it later allowed Bharti Airtel to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till January 10 to facilitate linking of Aadhaar with mobile SIMs as per a Supreme Court directive.

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