What Is Virtual ID And How Does It Safeguard Aadhaar Details?

What Is Virtual ID and How to generate one?

According to the circular issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a Virtual ID is a 16-digit exchangable number that is mapped to your Aadhaar number.

To avail services from an agency, Virtual ID must be used instead of the Aadhaar number.

While it is certainly important to ensure that Aadhaar holders use their identity to avail a product or service, the storage of Aadhaar numbers by various private players and entities has raised issues regarding the Right To Privacy.

 

Virtual ID And Aadhaar

Virtual ID secures your Aadhaar number.

How To Generate Virtual ID using Aadhaar?

Any Aadhaar holder can log onto the UIDAI website to generate their VID, which will be valid for a defined period of time, or till the user decides to change it.

You can generate as many VIDs as you want. A new Virtual ID cancels the old one, once generated. You can also generate/replace VIDs on the Aadhaar mobile app and at enrolment centers. 

In order to generate 16 Digit Virtual Id number, follow these easy steps:

  • Go to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
  • On the main page, you will find Aadhaar services. Under which you will find ‘Virtual ID (VID) Generator’.
  • Click on ‘Virtual ID Generator
  • Enter Aadhaar Number and you will get a one time password (OTP)
  • Enter OTP and click ‘Generate VID’.

 

Note- Linking Mobile number with your Aadhaar number is mandatory to generate Virtual ID.

How Does Virtual ID Work?

The random number mapped to your Aadhaar number is the Virtual ID. This acts as a substitute towards providing your Aadhaar number, which may lead to privacy concerns.

For instance, once you give your Virtual ID to an authentication agency (Government agencies and telecom companies). They will enter it into the system and receive a UID token. This authenticates it and provides limited demographic details such as name, phone number, and address.

Thus, these agencies will now be able to authenticate you without seeing your Aadhaar number.


Need For This New Two-Tier Security System

The security of Aadhaar data has been a subject of debate ever since the idea was floated under the UPA government.  Meanwhile repeated allegations of leaks have eroded public confidence.

The limited KYC system along with the Virtual ID might go a long way in allaying the nation’s doubts.

In order to counter the problems surrounding Aadhaar data leaks and increase the security, Virtual ID attempts to add an extra layer of security. This makes the agencies difficult to access your Aadhaar number.

Virtual IDs and UID token received by the agency confirms the mapping of Aadhaar number.

To facilitate their services, each agency is provided with a Unique Identification Token. This token helps them facilitate the required Aadhaar number and the sale of the products.

Are Virtual IDs Secure?

A recent case regarding Aadhaar data leaks was when a payment of ₹500 was made by The Tribune on Paytm to investigate unknown groups that sold Aadhaar numbers of individuals via the payment gateway.

As a result, this investigation busted an online racket that sold Aadhaar numbers where an unknown source provided details of individuals.

These details included name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

Apart from this, an additional ₹300 was paid by The Tribune that provided a feature to enable printing Aadhaar cards after entering the Aadhaar number of the individual. 

In order to counter the problems surrounding Aadhaar data leaks and increase the security, Virtual ID attempts to add an extra layer of security by making it more difficult for agencies to get access to your Aadhaar number.

  • An important feature of Virtual IDs, is that it is temporary and revocable 16-digit random number.
  • It stops agencies or companies from storing your Aadhaar data and blocks access of your Aadhaar number to these agencies.
  •  Agencies receive a Unique Identification Token.  This helps them to facilitate the sale of products with Aadhaar number to authenticate their services.
  • Only Aadhaar holders would be able to generate a Virtual ID. This means that no one else including the authentication agency can generate this Virtual ID on behalf of the Aadhaar holder.
  • VID by design being temporary, cannot be used by agencies for duplication.
  • There will be only one active and legally valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time.
  • To check if the ID is correctly entered, the last digit in a Virtual ID is a checksum that can be validated during entering. VID uses Verhoeff algorithm to prevent various data entry errors. This will make sure clients avoid silly data entry errors.

Availability Of Virtual ID In India

In defining its prominence, adaptability, and availability, Virtuals IDs seem more secure. The UIDAI will begin accepting Virtual IDs shortly and may make it mandatory for agencies to start accepting Virtual IDs by June 1, 2018.

Have you created your Virtual Id number yet? Drop your comment if you find any problem with your VID number generation.

 

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