The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued some security advice through its Twitter handle on Saturday. In the series of tweets the UIDAI has warned people not to share their document no. or a printed copy with anyone. While this seems to be sensible advice since the Aadhaar ID stores all your information including biometric data, it stands in contradiction to the perceived use of the ID as a nationally accepted identification document.
In the last one year or so not only government departments have sort kind of mandated the use of Aadhaar to deliver services but many private firms like Reliance Jio and Airtel too have started accepting Aadhaar as a valid proof of ID and require a copy of the document from people seeking new SIM cards.
UIDAI in its tweet said that “We urge you to be very discreet about your Aadhaar & other identity documents. Do not share the document no. or a printed copy with anyone”.
It is to be noted here that the Aadhaar card is mostly the first identification any government or private form requires. While there are other options available in most cases, some companies like Reliance Jio don’t give a SIM card if you don’t have an Aadhaar card.
While in the first tweet UIDAI urges people not to share the details, the second tweet takes a softer tone with saying “Wherever you are submitting a copy of your Aadhaar, self-attest it and state the purpose clearly to avoid misuse”.
It is definitely a sensible thing to self-attest any ID proof and write a reason on it, but some online forms make the Aadhaar number mandatory and it doesn’t require a photocopy either, leaving an applicant in a lurch whether to listen to UIDAI and not share the details or otherwise.
The UID, or Aadhaar card, was intended to identify beneficiaries of Direct Benefit Schemes as MNREG, domestic LPG, etc. Since July 2014, several government offices also use Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system.
The Aadhaar identification is now used for most government services like passport, voter ID, ration cards and more. So basically to avail many government and private schemes a person has to share his Aadhaar ID, but the UIDAI says don’t.
The authority in its last tweet also sends a slightly reassuring message. It says, “If there has been a misuse, you can take legal action. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/technology/story/uidai-says-dont-share-your-aadhaar-id-wait-what/1/809136.html