Centre withdraws advisory to use masked Aadhaar at public places
The Centre on Sunday withdrew its advisory asking citizens to share only masked versions of their Aadhaar with organizations to prevent misuse. Earlier, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had warned citizens not to share Aadhaar photocopies with any organization, citing potential misuse. It had instead recommended using masked Aadhaar which displays only the last four digits of the Aadhaar number.
Why does this story matter?
The government's advisory and subsequent withdrawal came at a time when concerns are being raised about the infringement of privacy through Aadhaar and its misuse for monetary gains. The Supreme Court of India, in its last judgment on Aadhaar, had upheld the constitutional validity of the identity document. It had, however, barred private companies from using Aadhaar details for the purpose of KYC authentication.
What did the government earlier say?
"Do not share a photocopy of your Aadhaar with any organization as it can be misused. Alternatively, please use a masked Aadhaar that displays only the last four digits of your Aadhaar number," the government had said in a press release. Further, it said unlicensed private entities like hotels and cinema halls were not allowed to collect or keep copies of Aadhaar cards.
Government had cautioned citizens
The government release had said that only organizations that have secured a User License from the Unique Identification Authority of India can use Aadhaar for a person's identification. It said before giving their Aadhaar cards, citizens should confirm that the concerned entity is UIDAI licensed. Furthermore, the government had cautioned citizens not to download their Aadhaar cards from public computers.
Centre's clarification and withdrawal of the advisory
The prior advisory, according to the Centre, was given by the UIDAI's Bengaluru Regional Office in the context of an attempt to misuse a faked Aadhaar card. It has now retracted the advisory due to the potential of the press release being misinterpreted. Aadhaar cardholders have been warned to use and share their UIDAI Aadhaar numbers with caution.Share this timeline