Things haven’t really been going well for Aadhaar, central government’s ambitious biometric identification system for all citizens of India. Over the past few months, numerous reports surfaced regarding Aadhaar databases (and by extension, the confidential data stored in them) being compromised. Just last week, Supreme Court had issued a verdict striking down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which required citizens to furnish Aadhaar information for getting new mobile connections.
With all the fuss that has been going on, it shouldn’t be surprising if common people are getting increasingly wary of Aadhaar, and all the information it seeks from them. To alleviate some of those fears, the government is now promoting offline Aadhaar verification tools that don’t require handing out biometric data to be stored on UIDAI’s servers.
According to a report by The Times of India, offline tools such as QR codes won’t require citizens to even reveal their Aadhaar numbers, a practice that has always been controversial. The new offline KYC verification methods will work alongside existing verification tools, such as driving licenses and PAN cards.
The report further mentions that the QR codes can be downloaded and printed from UIDAI’s website. A service provider can then either download a QR code scanner app from the website or get a scanner that can read the codes.
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Recently, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked UIDAI to prepare an action plan for ensuring compliance with Supreme Court’s ruling on Aadhaar, restricting its use by private entities. Prasad held a meeting with IT secretary Ajay Kumar Sawhney and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey to review the status of Aadhaar use in light of the judgment.