UIDAI adds tokens, temporary IDs to enhance Aadhaar privacy

The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced changes to the Aadhaar system including a 16-digit Virtual ID (VID) numbers which users can generate to temporarily validate their identity without sharing their Aadhaar number, along with limits to KYC and UID tokens, all of which is intended to enhance the system’s privacy and security, The Indian Express reports.

The collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies will also be reduced. The VID will be “mapped with” the user’s Aadhaar number, but the Aadhaar number cannot be derived from it, according to the UIDAI. Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) will be designated as global or local, with local AUAs restricted in the KYC they are allowed, and barred from storing Aadhaar numbers. In their place, the UIDAI will issue agency-specific UID tokens.

The changes will be introduced March 1, but authentication agencies will have until June 1 to implement the new system.

As previously reported, the privacy protections of the Aadhaar system, or lack thereof, have been repeatedly criticized, most recently by Edward Snowden following a report that a program database is being sold online and a subsequent police complaint against the journalist reporting the story.

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