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

The Virtual ID together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency, say, a mobile company, limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification. Moreover, you can use the Virtual ID as many times as you want, or keep generating a new one every time you have to share your unique ID with a service provider.

The paper said that its reporter purchased a service by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp. Virtual IDs will be issued from March 1, 2018, and service providers will start accepting it from June 1, 2018.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has extended the conditional permission given to Bharti Airtel Ltd to resume Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of telecom subscribers till 31 March, from the initial date of 10 January.

Agencies that undertake the authentication process would not be allowed to generate the virtual ID on behalf of the user. As linking of Aadhaar to PAN card, social welfare and other schemes has become mandatory, users can also give their VID for authentication, till the time linking is not being done. Recent media reports also fuelled the general concern about the privacy and security of Aadhaar-related data.

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Jan.8 said the government asked the UIDAI to request the Tribune and its journalist to assist the police in the investigation. Since the system generated Virtual ID will be mapped to an individual's Aadhaar number itself, it will work the same way as your Aadhaar number worked.

It added that while it is important to ensure that Aadhaar number holders can use their identity information to avail products and services, the collection and storage of Aadhaar numbers by various entities had heightened privacy concerns. Called Virtual ID or VID, this alternate way for Aadhaar holders to take up Aadhaar authentication is meant to further strengthen privacy and security of Aadhaar holders, the UIDAI - the issuer of the 12-digit Aadhaar number as well as Aadhaar card - said on microblogging site Twitter.

Experts pointed out that the virtual ID is voluntary and the Aadhaar number will still need to be used at some places.

VID is a 16-digit, randomly-generated number which can be used for authentication instead of the original Aadhaar number. The idea is to minimise sharing of the actual Aadhaar number or demographic information.

In fact, these are the checks that should have been run while the Aadhaar system was still a pilot project.

Local AUAs should make changes inside their systems to replace Aadhaar number within the databases with UID Token. 210 government published at least 13 crore Aadhaar numbers in the past and the risk of people having these numbers already is very high.

Vanessa Coleman