Centre on Sunday reversed the advisory on sharing Aadhaar card photocopy in view of data safety, hours after the advisory, dated May 27, went viral. Earlier, the Centre had issued an advisory warning people against sharing the details of their Aadhaar cards with any organisation as it could be misused.
"UIDAI issued Aadhaar card holders are only advised to exercise normal prudence in using and sharing their UIDAI Aadhaar numbers," the latest circular said. It reiterated that there are enough safety measures in place to protect and safeguard the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar holders.
"The release advised the people to not to share photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organization because it can be misused. Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of Aadhaar number, can be used," UIDAI had said earlier.
A notice issued on May 27 said that only organisations that have obtained a User License from the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) could use Aadhaar card for establishing identity of a person.
"Unlicensed private entities like hotels or film halls are not permitted to collect or keep copies of Aadhaar card," the notice issued on May 27 reads, calling such acts an offence under the Aadhaar Act 2016. The circular said that instead of entire photocopy of the Aadhaar card, users can download a masked Aadhaar card, which displays only the last 4 digits of the Aadhaar number, from the UIDAI website.
The advisory from the Centre had fanned the fears of privacy breach and data leak since Aadhaar cards were being used as valid identity proofs everywhere within India over the past few years. From college admissions to job applications and medical records, Aadhaar card details are often sought as documents for identification.
"Please avoid using a public computer at an internet café/kiosk to download e-Aadhaar. However, if you do so, please ensure that you delete all the downloaded copies of e-Aadhaar permanently from the computer," the earlier circular said.
The UIDAI on its website has reassured that it works closely with all 'user agencies to enhance data security measures when it comes to sensitive user details like Aadhaar'. "UIDAI uses advanced security technologies to keep your data safe and keeps upgrading them to meet emerging security threats and challenges."
"Data of all Aadhaar holders is safe and secure in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) of UIDAI. Aadhaar database in CIDR has never been breached in all these years of its existence," UIDAI says on the website.
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