'Government is trying to rectify its mistake after damage was already done,' mocks P Chidambaram.
New Delhi: A day after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) introduced a new concept of 'Virtual ID' to tighten security of Aadhaar card holders, many have come to the forefront opposing the move.
Petitions are being filed in the Supreme Court against the system.
The petitioners are of the opinion that the new Virtual ID concept is "untested and unworkable".
"The UIDAI is trying to rectify technical breach by its untested technology," a petitioner was quoted as saying by NDTV, adding that in the hearing next week, they will oppose it tooth and nail.
In a bid to address privacy concerns, the UIDAI on Wednesday introduced a new concept of 'Virtual ID', which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.
This will give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.
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.
Officials said a user can generate as many Virtual IDs as he or she wants. The older ID gets automatically cancelled once a fresh one is generated.
The Virtual ID will be a temporary and revocable 16 digit random number mapped to a person's Aadhaar number and the Aadhaar-issuing body will start accepting it from March 1, 2018.
From June 1, 2018 it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users.
Agencies that do not migrate to the new system to offer this additional option to their users by the stipulated deadline will face financial disincentives.
The move came after reports revealed that anonymous sellers on Whatsapp were offering Aadhaar details of more than a billion Indians in exchange of a meagre sum of Rs 500.
The report claimed the existence of a software, available in the market for only Rs 300, which can print the Aadhaar card of any individual by entering their Aadhaar number.
UIDAI denied the report and assured that there has not been any Aadhaar data breach and that the data is fully safe and secure.
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday took to Twitter to mock the Centre's new security feature stating that the Government was trying to rectify its mistake after damage was already done.
"Under compulsion, millions of persons have already shared Aadhaar number with many service providers. New security layer is like locking the stable after horses have bolted," Chidambaram said.
Under compulsion, millions of persons have already shared Aadhaar number with many service providers. New security layer is like locking the stable after horses have bolted.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 11, 2018
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari termed it as a "classical case of dual uses of Technology".
"Aadhaar commenced to enable RESIDENTS of India to access basic services thru an identity. Not designed to be a TOOL for big brother state to spy/ surveill & police people online & offline. That is what it has become. Classical Case of dual uses of Technology (sic)," he tweeted.
Aadhaar commenced to enable RESIDENTS of India to access basic services thru an identity.Not designed to be a TOOL for big brother state to spy/ surveill &police people online& offline.That is what it has become. Classical Case of dual uses of Technology. https://t.co/urI6axJf7s— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) January 11, 2018
The SC is hearing a bunch of petitions that wants the court to stop the government from forcing people to link their Aadhaar number to access public services and benefits.