To comply with the Supreme Court’s order, allaying fears of surveillance and breach of privacy, the Centre is pushing for offline verification tools such as QR codes and paperless KYC, which will not involve sharing of biometrics or authentication via Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) servers.
The users will not be required to share even their Aadhaar numbers. Further, they can restrict their demographic information in KYC to only name and address. The collection of information in KYC had been creating controversies over potential data mining and tracking by the government. The offline processes will fulfil the Supreme Court order to prevent private firms from using biometrics-based Aadhaar authentication.
The government and service providers can use offline KYC in addition to other IDs like driving licences, ration and electoral photo cards, passports and PAN cards.
The UIDAI will offer paperless eKYC feature which is a digitally signed secure document and can be downloaded in electronic or printed format. It can be verified offline. It will include the demographic information that one chose to offer. Excluding name and address other information such as gender, date of birth, mobile, email and photograph are optional.
In the QR option, three tamper proof QR codes are provided with photograph and without one. This will eliminate the need for fingerprint or iris authentication and will further reduce instance of forgery.
The eKYC will help to open a bank account or get a phone connection without the need of Aadhar number. Hence, will not use the Aadhar server in any way.
“The offline QR code is a landmark development which will allow everyone to establish their identity through offline verification without giving out Aadhaar number. Only in those places where Aadhaar number is required under the law … one will have to go through the authentication process,” Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI, was quoted as saying in a report.
Earlier in September, the Supreme Court in its ruling struck down some provisions of the Aadhar Act such as linking of Aadhar with bank accounts and mobile phones and usage by private firms.