In an effort to address fears over surveillance, breach of privacy and data farming, the Centre is promoting offline verification tools for Aadhaar such as QR codes and a paperless KYC that will not require sharing of biometrics or involve UIDAI servers for authentication. Now, government pushes offline tools to verify Aadhaar.
In an effort to address fears over surveillance, breach of privacy and data farming, the Centre is promoting offline verification tools for Aadhaar such as QR codes and a paperless KYC that will not require sharing of biometrics or involve UIDAI servers for authentication.
The KYC process will not even need users to reveal their Aadhaar numbers, the collection of which has often been subject to controversies over potential data mining and tracking. The offline processes will fulfil the Supreme Court’s order ruling out biometrics-based Aadhaar authentication for private firms.
The offline KYC can be used by service providers, including government, and will be in addition to other IDs such as driving licences, ration and electoral photo cards, passports and PAN cards.
Now, government pushes offline tools to verify Aadhaar
Offline apps to protect privacy
The government hopes reliability of offline Aadhaar KYC will make it popular and also provide options to fintech firms that are disadvantaged by being denied access to UIDAI authentication.
The QR codes can be downloaded and printed from the UIDAI site. A service provider can download a QR code reader from the UIDAI site or get scanner that can read the code on an Aadhaar number printout.
The UIDAI offers a ‘paperless local eKYC’, too, which can be stored on laptop or phone. As long as a service provider has the appropriate software, a user can share the zip file with a “share code” to establish ID.
Officials said eKYC and QR codes protect privacy as UIDAI is ignorant of their use. Also, you can restrict demographic information, giving only name and address.
The eKYC can help open a bank account or get a phone connection without sharing unique ID number. This could help do away with the need to amend the law to enable authentication through the Aadhaar server.
Since the tools are offline, the government will not know if you have used Aadhaar to open a bank account, buy insurance or get a SIM, addressing privacy concerns, officials said, adding that the two tools were developed before the SC verdict. “For everything other than direct benefit transfer, the two applications can be used for authentication. This also addresses concerns of fintech companies ” said a source.