On Tuesday, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) called on a number of hygiene-related concerns and provided Offline Verification Seeking Entities (OVSEs) a set of guidelines regarding enhanced safety precautions at the user level and techniques to further boost residents’ trust while using Aadhaar voluntarily for legal purposes.
OVSEs are the entities that do offline verification of an Aadhaar number holder for a valid purpose.
Offline verification is the use of Aadhaar for carrying out identity verification and KYC processes locally, without connecting to the Central Identities Data Repository of UIDAI.
“Entities have been informed to perform verification of Aadhaar after explicit consent of the Aadhaar number holder. These entities need to be courteous to residents and assure them about the security and confidentiality of their Aadhaar while conducting offline verification,’ the authority said in a press release.
According to the press release, entities are required to keep a log or record of the citizens’ express consent for any upcoming audits by UIDAI or other relevant legal authorities.
Instead of accepting Aadhar in physical form, the UIDAI asked OVSEs to verify Aadhaar via the QR Code present on all four forms of Aadhaar (Aadhaar letter, e-Aadhaar, m-Aadhaar, and Aadhaar PVC card).
The authority insisted that as far as a person is able to prove their identity through other acceptable methods, no resident will be refused services because they choose not to or are unable to submit to offline Aadhaar verification.
It has been underlined that OVSEs need to provide residents with viable alternative means of identification in addition to Aadhaar, for rendering service.
“Verification entities, generally should not collect, use or store the Aadhaar number of the resident after having conducted offline verification of Aadhaar, UIDAI has informed OVSEs. Post verification, if the OVSE finds it necessary for any reason, to store a copy of Aadhaar, the OVSE must ensure that the Aadhaar number is redacted/masked and irretrievable,” UIDAI said.
Tampering with Aadhaar documents can be detected by offline verification, and tampering is a punishable offense and is liable for penalties under Section 35 of the Aadhaar Act.
In cases of misuse of information, verification entities need to inform UIDAI and the resident concern within 72 hours.
UIDAI has cautioned OVSEs not to perform offline verification on behalf of any other entity or person and ensure full cooperation with the Authority or law enforcement agencies in case of any investigation involving the misuse of Aadhaar.