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 fungible number that is mapped to your Aadhaar number.

Once a Virtual ID is generated, you can provide the 16-digit number instead of your Aadhaar number to any agency that requests you to avail their services.

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. The older VID gets automatically canceled once a fresh one is 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- That the said Virtual ID can only be generated in the event that your Mobile Number is linked to your Aadhaar Number.

How Does Virtual ID Work?

A Virtual ID is a random number that will be mapped to your Aadhaar number. This acts as a substitute towards providing your Aadhaar number, which may lead to privacy concerns.

For instance, if 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 that 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

While the security of Aadhaar data has been a subject of debate ever since the idea was floated under the UPA government, 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 by making it more difficult for agencies to get access to your Aadhaar number.

These agencies will receive only your Virtual IDs and UID token that confirms it is mapped to your Aadhaar number.

Thus, each agency that facilitates the sale of products and requires Aadhaar number will be given different Unique Identification Tokens, to authenticate their services.

 

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.

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.
  • Each agency that facilitates the sale of products and requires Aadhaar number will be given different Unique Identification Tokens 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.
  • The last digit in a Virtual ID is a checksum that can be validated during entering,  to see if the ID is correctly entered. 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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