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Can you ask UIDAI to delete your Aadhaar data?

We asked this question to Saurabh Garg, CEO of UIDAI, at a virtual event organised by Chiratae Ventures. What was his answer?

Can citizens ask UIDAI to delete their Aadhaar data? We asked this question to Saurabh Garg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of  Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI). He was speaking at a virtual event organised by Chiratae Ventures. This is what he answered: "We have the concept of deactivation, so, if you don’t want the Aadhaar to be used for any purpose, that means no one can withdraw funds from it. So, there are two ways to do it: One is you can lock your Aadhaar, you can lock your biometrics, you can even use your virtual id if you don’t want to use Aadhaar. The Aadhaar can also get deactivated so that no one else can utilize it" He added, "whether you call it a deletion, or you call it a inability to use Aadhaar, the purpose is achieved by this." Garg did not say ‘yes’ to if citizens have the right to get their data deleted from UIDAI. We contacted UIDAI via phone and email but they did not provide any clarifications on the issue. Here are the questions we asked: 1. Can I voluntarily deactivate my Aadhaar? If yes, then how? 2. Is it possible for me to ask UIDAI to delete my data, including name, date of birth, photo, fingerprints, iris data? If yes, then how? - Questions we sent to UIDAI in our email Why it matters: Saurabh Garg seemed hesitant and unclear in his comments. Such answers are also telling of the focus that…

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I cover privacy, surveillance and tech policy. In my reporting, I try my best to present the most relevant facts, and sometimes add in a pinch of my thoughts.

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