Aadhaar card holders can now lock their biometric details to prevent hackers from stealing their data.
With more people moving towards digital payments which uses Aadhaar identification, cases of unauthorized use and storage of biometrics details by some firms was reported last month.
In a bid to provide Aadhaar card holders with more options that ensure security, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has come out with the new feature to lock the biometric details (fingerprint and retinal scan data).
"Biometric data of citizens is being collected on various platforms for government schemes, often without much safeguards. Aadhaar identification has become almost compulsory in some cases. Banks, mobile phone operators and others have access to it. People can hack into this data and access individuals' details, including bank accounts," a UIDAI official told TOI.
"Each time you shop and pay using your fingerprint, the data processed by POS machines can be hacked. Fingerprint details can be captured as well," the official said.
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Though for now, the lock and unlock facility is voluntary. "If a person wants to lock his data, he or she can do it. No other person can unlock it. One can keep it locked as long as one wishes," the official added.
However, if you lock your Aadhaar data, it will lead to failed transactions as even banks cannot access the biometric information stored in the main server.
UIDAI has said that all devices using Aadhaar authentication will have to adhere to its new encryption standards from June 1.
The move is aimed at adding another security layer to the hardware at a time when such devices are all set to take the centre stage in biometric-based digital payments.
UIDAI is the nodal body responsible for rolling out Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number that identifies residents based on their biometrics. While more than 112 crore Aadhaar have been generated in the country, the Aadhaar authentications have crossed 500 crore, and 100 crore e-KYC have been done on the platform.
The Aadhaar daily authentications now stand at almost 2 crore against 10 lakh about 1.5 years ago.