Virtual ID can now be submitted as an alternative to Aadhaar when applying for a new SIM

From 1 July onwards, people who want to get new SIM cards or need to re-verify an existing mobile number will have an option to either give their Aadhaar number or the more secure Virtual IDs.

In order to strengthen the privacy and the security of the Aadhaar Number Holder, at the time of authentication, UIDAI had introduced a few changes in the Aadhaar ecosystem this year in January — Virtual ID and Limited KYC.

The telecom department on 12 June said in a notice that, “All licensees shall implement the changes proposed by UIDAI regarding use of virtual ID as an alternative of Aadhaar number, UID tokens and limited KYC concept in their systems, networks subject to adherence of existing Aadhaar-based e-KYC processes for issuing new mobile connections to subscribers and re-verification of existing mobile subscribers.”

The government has already clarified that Aadhaar was not mandatory for issuing new SIMs.

In the notice, DoT has also clarified that after the implementation of these changes, licensees will have to give subscribers an option of feeding either their Aadhaar number or Virtual ID as per their choice and comfort.

In case your Aadhaar number is already shared, the DoT has asked telcos to replace the Aadhaar numbers of existing subscribers with UID tokens as a one-time measure.

What are Virtual IDs? If you’re worried that your 12-digit Aadhaar number and data might be misused and don’t want to share your unique biometric number, you have an option of using Aadhaar Virtual ID (VID). You can use the virtual ID to authenticate transactions and e-know-your-customer (KYC) services instead of providing your Aadhaar number

UIDAI tweeted on 2 April that it has launched the facility to put in place “multi-layered security” to reinforce privacy protection for Aadhaar holders, and that it can be quoted as an alternative to your Aadhaar.

The VID is a temporary and revocable 16-digit random number that is mapped with your Aadhaar number.  Also, Aadhaar number cannot be derived from the VID. It can be used for the purpose of authentication in the same way the Aadhaar number is used and can be regenerated multiple times. This makes it a much safer option than providing your actual Aadhaar number.

What is Limited KYC? It is a concept where only the information required for authentication is shared with an agency.  The rest, like the full details of the person or the Aadhaar number, are kept hidden.

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