From issuing admission to an educational institute to opening a bank account, every procedure is marked incomplete in India without the submission of the Aadhaar Card. It is a vital ‘identity proof’ documentation for Indians.
Although the unique code is handy, there are chances of fraud and misuse as it allows access to an individual’s biometrics and is linked to other personal documents. In order to add another layer of security, the government of India has recently issued the ‘Masked Aadhaar ID’. So, how secure is the Masked Aadhaar ID and how does it work?
Understanding the Metrics of Masked Aadhaar
Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system. The 12-digit unique ID issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is currently used pan India to carry out numerous operations. Various global economists have coined it as one of ‘the most sophisticated ID programs in the world’.
In view of the increased risks associated with Aadhaar, the UIDAI has issued the option of ‘Masked Aadhaar ID’ or ‘Virtual ID (VID)’. As its name goes, a masked Aadhaar is essentially a 12-digit ID number that can be shared without revealing anything important about an individual’s personal information.
What’s new with the Masked Aadhaar?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Masked Aadhaar:
- The Masked Aadhaar card ID is issued by the UIDAI. In the masked Aadhaar, only the last 4 digits of an individual’s Aadhaar card are visible.
- The initial 8 digits are revealed or written as ‘XXXX-XXXX’ in order to conceal and keep the entire 12-digital unique code confidential from strangers—thus protecting it from fraud and misuse.
- Additionally, a masked Aadhaar is a 12-digit ID number that can be shared without revealing anything important about your personal information, minimizing frauds committed against users.
- The masked Aadhaar will be available in PDF format and it will be password enabled. Masked Aadhaar card password will be sent to your email after the download.
Here’s how you can download it:
- Login at the official UIDAI website and click at ‘Download Aadhaar’ option
- Select Aadhaar / VID / Enrollment ID option and tick at the masked Aadhaar option
- Enter the details sought there and click at ‘Request OTP’ option
- An OTP will be sent on your Aadhaar-registered mobile number
- Enter the OTP and click at ‘Download Aadhaar’
- Now, your masked Aadhaar card will become available for download.
Conclusion: Can Masked Aadhaar provide security?
Yes, it can. In an era where data theft is on the rise, the masked Aadhaar could be one small step towards securing your data. The ‘Masked Aadhaar Card’ option allows one to conceal the Aadhaar number in the downloaded e-Aadhaar. The masked Aadhaar number implies replacing of first 8 digits of Aadhaar number and only the last 4 digits are visible, whereas the regular Aadhaar card shows the 12 digits.
In 2021, the government of India warned the people that they must not resort to disclosing their Aadhaar card details to protect their data from online fraud. Currently, people have been advised to not share the Masked Aadhaar for their own security purposes.
The masked version of Aadhaar protects the subscriber’s identity by revealing only the last four digits. This will ensure that even if the card is lost, it cannot be misused. However, the masked Aadhaar card ID does show the key details such as smart QR Code, photograph, and demographic information.