Private sector can use Aadhaar authentication too: UIDAI

NEW DELHI: Imagine a social networking website or an e-commerce portal opting to ask for an Aadhaar authentication to establish your real identity? A Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) document says this may be possible. 

An internal UIDAI document floated in February has proposed a number of possible usages of Aadhaar even for the private sector outside the government. “Various internet, social networking and e-commerce related websites could also use Aadhaar Authentication to authenticate customers or subscribers whenever it is required to establish the real identity of the person who subscribes or does a transaction,” says the internal document suggesting Aadhaar authentication for delivery of host of service. It says e-commerce companies, before completing a cash-on-delivery transaction, can send a One-Time Password (OTP) to the registered mobile phone number of the resident seeking Aadhaar Authentication. 

The document says telecom service providers can use Aadhaar-based authentication for address verification or issuing a new mobile connection, private institutions and banks can use the same for date of birth verification and any organization can use it for attendance tracking. Banks can also use an OTP based Aadhaar authentication during internet banking transactions, the UIDAI document says. “This usage will also help manage cases of impersonation/false identity in services such as obtaining new phone connection, credit cards etc,” the document says. Other “new usages” of Aadhaar-based authentication could be as identity proofs in various medical or engineering examinations where a large number of cases of impersonation are reported every year, the document says. 

UIDAI has also suggested existing government programmes to use Aadhaar for attendance tracking. “Another key usage of authentication would be attendance tracking for programs such as Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan – for both students and teachers and NREGA where wages or outlay is linked to actual number of days the beneficiary reports for the program,” the document says. Under the PDS system, usage of Aadhaar could result in the PDS beneficiary not being tied to one fair price shop and enabled to withdraw rations anywhere, migrants accessing their PDS rations after leaving their village. Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday has said than an SC nod was needed to extend Aadhaar usage to more government programmes than mandated at present. 

While pitching for private sector use of Aadhaar, the UIDAI makes it clear that to protect a resident’s privacy, Aadhaar authentication service responds only with a ‘Yes or No’ and no personal identity information is returned as part of a response.