UIDAI extends the deadline to deploy Virtual ID system to July 1

UIDAI has extended by one month to July 1 the deadline for service providers and agencies like banks and telecom companies to fully deploy Virtual ID system and accept these IDs in lieu of Aadhaar number.

The Virtual ID (VID) feature is aimed at giving users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.

UIDAI - which had earlier said it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept VID from their users from June 1, 2018 - has decided to give one more month after the user agencies said they needed more time to switch to the new system.

"We are ready but the agencies wanted some more time to switch to the VID system. We have, therefore, given one more month till July 1," UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI.

The extension was given considering the "difficulty and amount of internal work" involved for the agencies including telcos, banks, state governments, among others, he added.

In January this year, to address privacy concerns, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) announced plans to introduce VID feature which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and produce for various authentication purposes, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.

In April, Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI followed this up with the launch of beta version of VID feature allowing users to generate VID and use it to update address in Aadhaar online. It had then said soon the service providers will start accepting VID in place of Aadhaar number.

An official familiar with the VID rollout process said even now when an individual downloads eAadhaar, the Virtual ID comes with it.

Once the new feature is fully implemented by user agencies it will allow Aadhaar holders to quote their VID number without actually disclosing Aadhaar number for authentication or verification purposes.

The VID, which is a random 16-digit number mapped to a person's Aadhaar number, together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details such as name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification.

A user can generate as many VIDs as he or she wants, and the older ID gets automatically cancelled once a fresh one is generated.

The move is aimed at strengthening the privacy and security of Aadhaar data and comes amid heightened concerns around the collection and storage of personal and demographic data of individuals. It will also reduce the collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies.

As per a UIDAI circular issued earlier this year, agencies that undertake authentication would not be allowed to generate VID on behalf of Aadhaar holder.

Agencies that do not migrate to the new system by the stipulated deadline could face financial disincentives.

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