On May 27, Friday, there was a warning from the government’s ministry of electronics and information technology that sharing the photocopies of Aadhaar can lead to misuse of the document. This was shared in a press release by the UIDAI. This was informed to make people aware that sharing of Aadhaar to sites and platforms without a licence issued by the UIDAI for the following sites can lead to the misuse of the Aadhaar card. This created havoc around people as many platforms ask Aadhaar as one of the mandatory documents to be submitted.
People have already submitted Aadhaar as one of the documents on many platforms, from booking a movie, creating a bank account to buying a SIM card. However, this warning was immediately withdrawn. The government ensured that there wasn’t any leak regarding Aadhar, still, it is required for the citizens to ensure that they submit their Aadhaar document only to authorised websites.
Why is Aadhaar asked as a requirement for many service providers?
Aadhaar is identity proof that validates the information of the respective individual. When an Aadhaar is submitted to a website or to service providers, they verify the document with the help of Aadhaar Authentication to ensure that the document is legit. However, it is not a mandatory document and it is against law for the service providing committee to collect and save the date of the Aadhaar cards as it is considered an offence under the Adhaar act 2016. This is for the platforms with a valid user licence.
Calling out the facts that were issued on the UIDAI website. The sharing of Aadhaar as a KYC document to any bank is not a mandatory submission and the officials over at the bank cannot insist the citizens submit their Aadhaar.
This is also applicable to other platforms and service providers such as:
- Submission of Aadhaar is not mandatory for any hotels or theatres
- It is not necessary for the student to submit their Aadhaar during national or state examinations
- They are not required for the admission of the children either.
More details are given on the official site of UIDAI in a column called Aadhar myth busters.
Necessary precautions to consider for the safety of Aadhaar data.
When the government reannounced that people needn’t have to take full precaution over the sharing of the Aadhaar document. It is better to carefully consider the precautions before submitting the Aadhaar to any platform.
The main point to note is the downloading of an e-Aadhaar through a private device. People are asked not to download their e-Aadhaar through the internet café as they might pose a threat of saving your document on a public computer that everyone has access to. If the need arises, people are asked to properly delete the following files before shutting down the computers which might reduce the risk of the public accessing your document. (make sure to delete it from the downloads and the recycle bin).
The second point is to ensure the Aadhaar is masked. A masked Aadhaar can be downloaded from the official UIDAI website where it blocks the sensitive information from your Aadhaar documents such as the number and the biometric details that are accompanied with the document while also making it possible for the Aadhaar Authentication to identify and validate the individual.
The primary precaution to take is to connect the Aadhaar to the active phone number as in case of an accident regarding the Aadhaar, a notification message will be the first to pop up. Acknowledging this message might make our next move more considerate and effective. Better than not knowing how the Aadhaar is being used on the platforms.
How can the leaking of Aadhaar documents harm an individual?
The government assured us that sharing documents is mostly safe and it can’t be misused. Let’s analyse the ways in which it can be misused and how effective the security systems work on it. Aadhaar is like any other document which we submit for a beneficiary contract. From using passports for booking tickets to showing our licence in case of a road incident, Aadhaar is also used for proving the identity of an Indian citizen.
While there is news informing that there have been several Aadhaar data leaks, none lead to any damage for the holders as UIDAI has been upgrading the security system from the beginning. If required it is possible to lock the biometric information attached to the Aadhaar.
In conclusion, the Aadhar cannot be misused under any circumstances but making sure whom to hold the details of the Aadhar can save plenty of stress.
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