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Why the UIDAI’s introduction of virtual ID won’t really change much

Aadhaar virtual id

The usefulness of Aadhaar's virtual ID and limited KYC features will be far lesser than the UIDAI is letting on. The UIDAI said on Wednesday evening that people can use a Virtual ID to mask their Aadhaar number while sharing their information with third parties. Also implemented is a limited KYC feature where the third parties will have access to only necessary Aadhaar details. But there is a catch, the the Aadhaar-issuing body plans to split the third party authenticators (like telecom providers, banks etc) into two groups and the virtual ID and limited KYC will only be useful for one of them. A notification sent out by the UIDAI goes into detail about how the two new features will be handled. The UIDAI will split the third parties, or Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) as it refers to them, into two groups. (For reference here is a list of active AUAs as on 31.12.2017. It includes banks, mobile operators, government agencies, among others) The first one labelled as Global AUAs will able to access full KYC details and the Aadhaar number of users, hence virtual IDs won't serve much use here. Experts speculate that government agencies, banks and major telcos might get the classification of Global AUAs. "The virtual id is to be used only for local AUAs. Global AUAs, potentially like banks will still need Aadhaar for Direct Benefit Transfers. This does not remove the financial fraud risk that Aadhaar poses," Independent security researcher Srinivas Kodali told Medianama. The second…

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Writes about consumer technology, social media, digital services and tech policy. Is a gadget freak, gamer and Star Wars nerd.

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