The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) advised people on Friday to use Aadhaar confidently to avail benefits and services, but to exercise the same level of caution as when sharing any other identity documents, such as a bank account, PAN or passport.
In a new public advisory, the UIDAI stated that when sharing Aadhaar with any trusted entity, the same level of caution should be exercised as when sharing a mobile number, bank account number or any other identity document such as passport, voter ID, PAN, ration card, etc.
“Wherever a resident does not wish to share his or her Aadhaar number, UIDAI provides facility for generating Virtual Identifier (VID). One can easily generate VID by visiting the official website or via myaadhaar portal, and use it for authentication in place of the Aadhar number. This VID can be changed after the end of the calendar day,” UIDAI said in a statement.
“Aadhaar is residents’ digital ID, and it works as a single source of online and offline identity verification for residents across the country. Residents can use their Aadhaar number to verify and validate their identity credentials either electronically or through offline verification,” the statement said.
The UIDAI also advises residents not to leave their Aadhaar letter / PVC Card or a copy of it, unattended. Residents are advised not to share their Aadhaar numbers in public, especially on social media and other public platforms. According to the UIDAI, Aadhaar holders should not disclose their Aadhaar OTP to any authorised entity and should not share their m-Aahaar PIN with anyone.
UIDAI also offers Aadhaar locking and biometric locking services. If a resident is not likely to use Aadhaar for an extended period of time, he or she may disable Aadhaar or biometrics. When necessary, the same can be unlocked quickly and easily.
The UIDAI provides a technologically advanced ecosystem to ensure the Aadhaar number holder has a safe, smooth and quick authentication experience. The Aadhaar Act and its Regulations require that entities that obtain Aadhaar numbers from residents use and store them in a secure and legally permissible manner.
Entities seeking Aadhaar must obtain consent which specify the purpose for which it is being obtained. According to the statement, UIDAI asks residents to please insist on it.
Aadhaar holders may contact UIDAI on toll-free helpline 1947, which is available 24 hours a day and/or email email@example.com if they suspect unauthorised use of their Aadhaar, according to the statement.