On Wednesday, the UIDAI announced that Aadhaar card holders will now get a second layer of security. The UIDAI announced the 16 digit virtual ID (VID) which can be used to avail services instead of providing the 12 digit Aadhaar number. This second layer protection was brought in after multiple claims of breaking into the Aadhaar database in just 10 minutes.
The VID is a temporary 16 digit number mapped to the selected Aadhaar number. This means another VID number can be generated after the minimum validity period. There can be only one active VID per Aadhaar card. To create the VID number log on to the UIDAI website. Enter your Aadhaar card number and a temporary VID will be generated. It will not be possible to derive an Aadhaar number using a VID.
Wherever KYC or authentication is required the VID can be used instead of the Aadhaar number. The VID service will be activated from March 2018. All the service providers have been instructed to update their systems to make them compatible with VID. The Government explained the services that fail to do so will face financial penalties.
The founder of HasGeek and trustee of Internet Freedom Foundation Kiran Jonnalgadda said, “It would have been better had the government come up with this before the leaks. Now it’s just a whitewash.” Executive Director of Centre for Internet and Society Sunil Abraham stated that while this is a step forward it is not enough. He was quoted saying, “They should re-issue the compromised Aadhaar IDs and revoke the existing KYCs.”
Kiran further pointed out that as local and global AUAs are not defined clearly the VID use will be limited. He argues, “You may still have to give your Aadhaar ID to certain service providers, and that continues to put your data at risk.”
Sunil suggests the need to switch to smart cards that will be adaptable to VIDs. He stated this by pointing out its easier to show a 12 digit number on a card than remember a temporary 16 digit number. He explained that people will continue to use their Aadhaar cards unless the VID is stored in a smart card.