Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, director general and mission director, UIDAI, speaks about how the government is working towards enhanced security and the future of the project:
How would you explain Aadhaar to a common man?
Aadhaar is a 12-digit identity number which provides a robust online, hassle-free platform of proving one’s identity and delivering services and benefits (both government and non-government) to millions across the country.
You recently enhanced the security cover for information collected under Aadhaar. Could you tell us about it?
There are two aspects of security and privacy. One is the fear of breach of privacy and the other is not securing collected data. We want to reassure the public that personal data is immediately encrypted with a 2,048-bit encryption key even before it is saved on a disk so that it cannot be accessed by any one except authorised persons. So far as fear of breach of privacy is concerned, one need not worry as no personal data is shared with anyone without the consent of the resident, which is obtained through a rigorous method of Aadhaar authentication. Recently, we also brought in an information security audit and consultancy firm to build an additional layer of protection by reviewing the security of the entire system, along with that of other government departments and private agencies such as banks, which engage with Aadhaar.
Where does Aadhaar stand today? And what is your vision for the future?
Aadhaar is becoming the fulcrum for many government projects. So far, it has covered more than 94 crore Indians. We have, however, realised that there is a gap in enrolments particularly for children in the age group 0-5 and 5-18. We have started a special plan to enrol children through camps at anganwadis and schools. Here, adults who have been left over can also get enrolled. We are aggressively looking at bringing in Aadhaar for everyone.