UIDAI to offer offline verification of Aadhaar number

After the recent Supreme Court order banning private companies from collecting Aadhaar numbers of people, the Centre is planning to promote offline verification methods in the forms of QR code and paperless eKYC to address public concerns over surveillanc

After the recent Supreme Court order banning private companies from collecting Aadhaar numbers of people, the Centre is planning to promote offline verification methods in the form of QR code and paperless eKYC to address public concerns over surveillance and breach of privacy.

Telecom or financial firms can, however, use photocopy of Aadhaar cards, without sharing the unique number and biometric details — fingerprint or iris — of a person to establish the his or her identity.

Meaning, without disclosing the Aadhaar number, people can use the Aadhaar card as any other photo ID card, including ration card, PAN or voter ID cards, or driving licences and passport. 

The QR codes are printed in all Aadhaar cards and can be downloaded and printed from the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) website. Hence, service providers do not need anyone's biometric details such as fingerprints or iris scan details to establish a person's identity. And since the QR codes are tamper-proof, they do not carry the risk of fraud, an UIDAI official said. 

Besides, the UIDAI also offers a paperless local eKYC, which is downloadable and can be stored in a personal computer or phone. When necessary, people can share the file containing the eKYC with their service providers, the official said.

Both QR code and the downloadable eKYC file will contain details like gender, date of birth, mobile phone number, email ID and photo of the person. But, neither will share fingerprint and iris scan information of the Aadhaar card-holder, said the official.

"This will also address public apprehension that service providers may store the biometric details and misuse them. Because the verification is encouraged offline, in this case, the UIDAI server need not authenticate online," the official said.

The Supreme Court, recently struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed private companies to use the 12-digit biometric ID-based eKYC. Following this, private companies like telecom operators will not be able to use this instantaneous and inexpensive Aadhaar eKYC route.

The UIDAI has already asked telecom companies to submit their plan to stop using the 12-digit unique ID number for customer authentication.

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UIDAI to offer offline verification of Aadhaar number

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