• More than 111 crore users have registered for Aadhaar.
  • Aadhaar e-KYC or e-verification for commercial purposes is a cause of worry.

Aadhaar has been hitting headlines more often than before. With more services making Aadhaar mandatory, e-KYC or e-verification has been raising several questions. the most important one – is our Aadhaar data safe? This becomes worrisome as the government plans to introduce Aadhaar Pay.

Several companies now require your Aadhaar details as mandatory documents for issuing services. For instance, Reliance Jio users had to submit their Aadhaar card copy to get their hands on the SIM.

When issuing Aadhaar cards, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had assured that the private data collected from citizens will not be used for any commercial purposes. However, a report in Deccan Chronicle points out that a few MNCs have started using the data for e-KYC verification aka e-verification.

One such user told the news site that when purchasing a SIM card, he was asked to give Aadhaar card details for e-verification. He soon received an email that said his Aadhaar number was used successfully for authentication using the ‘fingerprint. This is a cause of worry as many users have linked their bank accounts and almost all financial dealings with the Aadhaar card.

This has raised questions about the security of the data that the Central government has collected, which includes fingerprints and iris scans. There is no clarity over why it is being used for commercial purpose and who will be responsible if it is misused.

“Several start-ups, MNCs and telecom operators are using the Aadhaar database in the city for various purposes. There is no clarity on who will be responsible if any one misuses the data,” an officer told the news site.

We recently saw how Aadhaar Pay comes with its fair share of problems.For instance, there is no clarity over the legal status over if a person/organisation can store someone’s biometric data without their knowledge.

With biometric failure, cyber security concerns and so on, the data could be further vulnerable if used for commercial purposes by telecom operators and other companies. The digital push, Aadhaar and biometrics are a way forward, but we need clearly stated rules to ensure the data isn’t misused.