Is linking Aadhar secure?
As linking of Aadhar to various government schemes and financial services from Pan Card, bank accounts and sim card to mutual fund investment and small savings are made compulsory. The question comes to our mind that Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has kept my biometrics information including bank account, PAN details etc. ….will it be used as a surveillance? The answer is an absolute NO. Aadhar number is for identification, not surveillance. As clarification given by UIDAI dated 14th January 2018 states that UIDAI keeps information with regard to Name, Address, DOB, Gender, biometrics details, mobile number and email id. There are no other details with UIDAI like education, family, caste, bank accounts, savings, mutual funds etc., and never UIDAI is going to keep these details. As a matter of fact, section 32(3) of Aadhar act 2016 prohibits UIDAI from keeping or maintaining any information either by itself or through any authority for the purpose of Authentication.
When we link our mobile number or any other documents, the biometric details are forwarded to UIDAI for verification. In return, UIDAI verifies the transaction with ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ answer except in certain cases it gives only basic information like Name, Address, Photograph. In fact, section 17(2) (a) of the Aadhar act 2016, prohibits any person from storage, sharing or publication of Aadhar details. The violation of the rule by any person will be punishable as an offence under Aadhar act 2016.
Hence, the conclusion can be drawn that it is secure to link our documents with Aadhar although there are some challenges with regard to Aadhar.
Now, the question arises why we are asked to link our bank account and mobile number. The answer is as simple as we think. It is done to eliminate accounts maintained by fraudsters, Money launderers & criminals. What used to happen earlier, the seller of sim card used to collect documents and provide sim card to the unauthorized person keeping the original owner unaware of it by charging the high fee. Similarly, bank accounts were also maintained by criminals with different names so that no one can track them. These fake identification are eliminated with the verification through Aadhar number.
Challenges with regard to Aadhar:-
Although Aadhar is secure there are some challenges with UIDAI. Data leak is one of the biggest challenges to cope up with UIDAI as we have seen in Reliance Jio case. The Aadhar data collected by Reliance Jio was leaked by the hackers and may be available to hackers widely. Also, there was the publication of Aadhar data publicly on the government website, later on, it was removed.
The other challenge is that illegal immigrants are also using the social security benefits provided by the government. Initially, Aadhar was introduced to eliminate illegal immigrants but later on, social security benefits were added to avoid privacy concern. So, UIDAI has to take care of this concern also.
Report: Prem Kumar