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How to use Aadhaar Virtual ID to protect your data

Aadhaar launched the Virtual ID system to enhance privacy controls over user data. This new system essentially allows users to use their Aadhaar information for verification without putting their data out in the open.

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How to use Aadhaar Virtual ID to protect your data

Aadhaar launched the Virtual ID system to enhance privacy controls over user data. This new system essentially allows users to use their Aadhaar information for verification without putting their data out in the open.

What is a Virtual ID?

The virtual ID will be a combination of 16-digits which will be used to mask the Aadhaar data. This set of random number can be used by the Aadhaar holder in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number. This step avoids the need of sharing any personally identifiable information during the time of authentication.  

This step will help UIDAI restrict the massive flow of data to major telecom companies. The companies will now have to use Virtual IDs and Limited KYC, which essentially mask user data and hence avoids blatant sharing of sensitive data. For now, telecom companies are expected to make the necessary changes in their data verification method. However, the new Virtual ID method can be used with a wider variety of services like banks, from August 31.

How to use the new Virtual ID for added data protection?

An Aadhaar-card holder can generate a Virtual ID from the official UIDAI website and produce that number for various authentication purposes, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit Aadhaar ID.

To generate the Virtual ID, go to the UIDAI website. Under the Aadhaar Services tab you'll find a Virtual ID or VID Generator option, click on that. On the following page enter your 12-digit Aadhaar number and the security captcha then click on 'Send OTP'. The website will send an OTP to your registered phone number.

Enter that OTP on the right side of the page and check the 'Generate VID' checkbox. Then the website will send the Virtual ID right to your phone inbox.

The Virtual ID can be generated once a day and there is no deadline to use it. You can use the same ID till you generate a new one. Once a new ID is generated, the older 16-digit ID will become invalid. Once the new Virtual ID feature is implemented by user agencies, Aadhaar holders can quote this 16-digit number without disclosing Aadhaar number.

As many as 121 crore people have been issued Aadhaar numbers so far. Authentication ecosystem varies from agency to agency. The move will strengthen the privacy and security of Aadhaar data. It will also reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

The UIDAI in its circular has stated that those telecom companies and e-sign providers that have not implemented the VID system shall be charged Rs 0.20 for every transaction performed after July 1. However, in case they are able to fully migrate to the new platform by July 31, the entire authentication transaction charges imposed for the above said period of July 1-31, 2018, shall be waived.

The UIDAI has further cautioned that in case the service provider fails to migrate fully to the new system by August 31, the authority "shall be free to take actions under the Aadhaar Act including imposition of financial disincentives and termination of license key". The UIDAI had previously said that all agencies that undertake authentication will start accepting VIDs from their users from June 1, 2018 but had then decided to give one extra month (till July 1) for its deployment, after the user agencies said they needed more time to switch to the new system.

The authority has instructed all authentication agencies to make necessary changes in front-end application to accept Aadhaar number as well as Virtual ID, and in backend application to accept UID token and limited KYC data immediately.

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