Pandey told ET that in case service providers resort to unscrupulous means of retrieving the Aadhaar number, they will be conducting a "criminal offence" and will be punished by the law. "I think everybody has to accept that Aadhaar is here to stay".
The Virtual ID, which would be a random 16-digit number, together with biometrics of the user would give any authorised agency like a mobile company, limited details like name, address and photograph, which are enough for any verification.
VID can be generated only by the Aadhaar number holder.
UIDAI will be releasing the necessary Application Programming Interface (API) by March 1 and all agencies using its authentication and eKYC services have been instructed to ensure Aadhaar holders can provide the 16-digit VIDs instead of Aadhaar number in their applications. "No one else including the authentication agency can generate this VID on behalf of Aadhaar holder", the UIDAI explained. Later, the same was claimed to be false and it was claimed that the Aadhaar details are secure. They also added that a safety feature to make sure only need-based sharing of information, by way of a limited KYC, even as it mentioned that the system and data were safe.
As the row over alleged breach of Aadhaar raged, the Centre on Thursday said innovations happening in the country can not be killed under the "garb of privacy" even as the scheme's architect Nandan Nilekani felt there was an "orchestrated campaign" to malign it.
Earlier this month, a report in The Tribune alleged Aadhaar data can be accessed through WhatsApp for a fee.
Delhi Police registered the FIR on a complaint by an UIDAI official following the newspaper report on data breach of more than 1 billion Aadhaar cards. It will be revocable number mapped with your Aadhaar number. So, unless the latter is stored in the smart card, people may continue to use their Aadhaar numbers, he explains.
Aadhaar was challenged legally in Supreme Court, to prevent misuse of the Aadhaar number and linked details. They can also revoke and generate a new VID on a timely basis after the time limit set by UIDAI. The limited KYC category is a local AUA-compared with a global AUA, which will have access to e-KYC using the Aadhaar number. The complete statement from UIDAI is available here.
"The Aadhaar-issuing body, however, has said that it will reserve the right to determine what demographic fields need to be shared with the Local AUAs in addition to the UID Token depending upon its need". Due to this, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), while suspending the Airtel's e-KYC licence, had imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on the payments bank. That remains suspended till final enquiry and audit (here and here).