New Delhi: UIDAI urges verification entities to adhere to Aadhaar usage hygiene. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued a set of guidelines for Offline Verification Seeking Entities (OVSE) highlighting some of the hygiene issues of use, better security mechanisms at the user level, and ways to further increase the confidence of residents in the voluntary use of Aadhaar for legitimate purposes.
The entities have been informed to do Aadhaar verification after the express consent of the Aadhaar number holder. These entities must be courteous to residents and assure them of the security and confidentiality of their Aadhaar while performing offline verification. Entities must maintain a protocol and record of express consent received from residents for any future audit by UIDAI or any of its statutory agencies.
UIDAI has also asked OVSEs to verify Aadhaar by the QR Code present on all four forms of Aadhaar as Aadhaar letter, e-Aadhaar, m-Aadhaar, and Aadhaar PVC card instead of accepting Aadhaar in physical or electronic form, as proof of identity.
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Offline authentication is the use of Aadhaar to perform identity verification and KYC processes locally, without connecting to UIDAI’s central identity data repository. Organizations doing offline verification of Aadhaar number holders legal purposes are called OVSEs.
The entities have been asked to ensure that no resident is denied any services for refusing or unable to undergo offline Aadhaar verification, provided the resident is able to identify himself through other viable alternatives. It was emphasized that OVSEs needs to provide residents with viable alternative means of identification for service delivery in addition to Aadhaar.
Generally, verification entities should not collect, use or store a resident’s Aadhaar number after performing offline Aadhaar verification, the UIDAI informed the OVSEs. After verification, if OVSEs finds it necessary for any reason to store a copy of Aadhaar, OVSEs must ensure that the Aadhaar number is redacted or masked and irretrievable.
Any Aadhaar can be verified using QR code available on all forms of Aadhaar (Aadhaar letter, e-Aadhaar, Aadhaar PVC card and m-Aadhaar) using mAadhaar App or Aadhaar QR code Scanner. Tampering with Aadhaar documents can be detected by offline verification and tampering is a criminal offense and punishable under Section 35 of the Aadhaar Act.
In case they notice any misuse of information, the verification entities have to inform the UIDAI and the resident concerned within 72 hours. UIDAI warned OVSEs not to conduct offline verification on behalf of any other entity or person and to ensure full cooperation to the authority or law enforcement agencies in case of any investigation involving the misuse of Aadhaar.
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