What Is Aadhaar's New Virtual ID and How You Can Get One

What Is Aadhaar's New Virtual ID and How You Can Get One

The UIDAI, which collects and manages Aadhaar data including biometrics of citizens, on Wednesday announced a new two-layer system to strengthen security under which citizens would no longer be required to share their unique IDs for verification purposes. While only one VID per Aadhaar number will be valid at a time, users can revoke and generate new VIDs as many times as desired.

Taking to his Twitter handle Chidambaram said, "Under compulsion, millions of persons have already shared Aadhaar number with many service providers".

UIDAI will be releasing the necessary Application Programming Interface (API) by March 1 and all agencies using its authentication and eKYC services have been instructed to ensure Aadhaar holders can provide the 16-digit VIDs instead of Aadhaar number in their applications.

The UIDAI also in which it noted that the FIR and the associated criminal proceedings have been initiated in connection with the act of unauthorized access of Aadhaar data.

The introduction of Virtual ID will reduce collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

The last digit of the VID is the checksum using "Verhoeff" algorithm as in Aadhaar number.

"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.

Not only does this address the privacy concerns which have resulted in a legal challenge to Aadhaar in the Supreme Court, it also prevents potential misuse of an individual's Aadhaar details.

A few days back, we came across reports suggesting that the Aadhaar card details of over 1 billion Indian citizens are prone to being exposed and sold for a mere Rs. 500. "VID is revocable and can be replaced by a new one by Aadhaar number holder after the minimum validity period set by UIDAI policy", the authority added.

UIDAI has been under the radar of various media agencies for some time now. It's an optional service, and it would be a 16-digit random number mapped on to the 12-digit Aadhaar number.

Now, while Nilekani himself has asserted that virtual IDs would be fool-proof, tech experts and Aadhaar critics say it's not going to be so.

Following the reports, the UIDAI also filed a case against the news agency - The Tribune. Still, it's the biggest overhaul of the system - known as Aadhaar - since it was introduced in 2010. The 72 character alphanumeric "UID Token" for your Aadhaar number will reportedly be different for every authentication body you approach.

In 2010, over 200 government agencies (with access to the accounts) accidentally published sensitive Aadhaar info online, and since 2015, banking fraud has run rampant on Aadhaar users, with identity thieves attempting to open bank accounts in their names.

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