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UIDAI says user biometrics can be locked; No Aadhaar opt out available

The UIDAI has said that a user can block their biometrics instead when asked about opting out of Aadhaar. The UIDAI’s response came in a query filed through the Right to Information (RTI) by Mahedihasan Aliarajak Patel, a Gujarat resident. (See the RTI response at the end of the story.)

In the RTI, Patel asks that he wants to “exit from Aadhaar card scheme” and would like to know the process for this in writing. Responding to it, the UIDAI said that his reference is under Regulation 11 of the Aadhaar Regulations, 2016, which read as:

(a) The Authority may enable an Aadhaar number holder to permanently lock his biometrics and temporarily unlock it when needed for biometric authentication.

(b) All biometric authentication against any such locked biometric records shall fail with a “No” answer with an appropriate response code.

(c) An Aadhaar number holder shall be allowed to temporarily unlock his biometrics for authentication, and such temporary unlocking shall not continue beyond the time period specified by the Authority or till completion of the authentication transaction, whichever is earlier.

(d) The Authority may make provision for Aadhaar number holders to remove such permanent locks at any point in a secure manner.

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The UIDAI also mentioned that the Aadhaar may be locked by visiting its website www.uidai.gov.in.

Prasanna S, a Delhi based advocate who assisted the petitioner in the Aadhaar case, told MediaNama that the UIDAI’s response was not compliant with the Supreme Court’s judgement on Aadhaar. He said, “The court order specifically directed that persons enrolled before the coming into force of the Act need to be given an option to exit Aadhaar. Not merely lock their biometrics.”

The court in its judgement also held that “on attaining the age of majority, such children who are enrolled under Aadhaar with the consent of their parents shall be given the right to exit from Aadhaar, if they so choose.” When asked whether there was a need to amend the Aadhaar Act to provide an opt out option, Prasanna said, “No. The SC directions are sufficient.”

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The RTI response:

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