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Your Aadhaar data can now be shared among government ministries but in limited form

Sharing of Aadhaar numbers, albeit in masked form, has been termed dangerous by experts who’ve raised other red flags.

Central and state government ministries will be able to share partially-masked Aadhaar data (i.e. last 4 digits) along with demographic information (name, date of birth, gender, residential address), among themselves, according to a memorandum from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The departments can do so only if they comply with the provisions related to safety, security, and confidentiality, it added. Another UIDAI memorandum states that ministries can use consent obtained from individuals during a particular scheme for any future schemes as long as they inform the individuals via email or mobile. The departments will have to get a consent form filled by the individual submitting their identity information for authentication. Aadhaar IDs contain sensitive data which needs to be guarded zealously as India does not have a data protection law in place yet. It needs to be stressed that the memoranda do not shed light on the checks and balances in place to prevent misuse of data. Why did the UIDAI publish these memoranda? The regulatory body revealed that it has received requests from various government ministries to provide guidance regarding the use of such data for future schemes. The data, they said, was collected during the course of the implementation of respective welfare schemes. What are the red flags? Srikanth Lakshmanan, a tech activist, said that the timing of these memos was “interesting” as they were released just before the central government tabled the JPC report on the data protection bill in the Parliament. He suggested that…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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