To ensure security, Aadhaar may add security layer with dummy numbers

Amid the privacy and protection concerns voiced by various groups, the top team of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is exploring the possibility of introducing dummy numbers that would add an extra layer of security to every Aadhaar cardholder.

Such a framework would require an individual to share dummy or pseudo numbers — and not the real Aadhaar number — to government agencies, private utilities, banks and while withdrawing money from ATMs or moving funds from one bank account to another under the Aadhaar-enabled payment system. Besides the cardholder, the original Aadhaar number would be known only to UIDAI.

No details yet
The creation of dummy numbers and the frequency at which it can be generated and used would depend on the design architecture of the system.

UIDAI, a statutory authority, is responsible for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, issuance of Aadhaar numbers as well as ensuring the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals. Its measures on data protection and development of new standards on technologies like Aadhaar-Pay are ongoing.

The organization, however, currently finds itself in a situation where the provisions of the very law (Aadhaar Act 2016) under which it was established has been challenged in the country’s highest court of law.

Toeing the government directive, banks, utilities and credit card issuers are repeatedly asking customers to link their Aadhaar details to respective accounts by 31 December 2017, failing which services would be discontinued. Critics of Aadhaar are resisting such coercion to link Aadhaar with multiple service providers. They are hoping that some of these rules may change after the Supreme Court ruling. The apex court hearing on the Aadhaar case is scheduled to begin on November 28.