Aadhaar data: These five steps will help you in protecting your privacy and confidentiality

Marlon Brando, once said, “Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.” But that was Brando. When it comes to “privacy” in India, it’s certainly not our fundamental right, according to this Firstpost report. If you are someone who wants to ensure that your Aadhaar data (at least the partial data-biometric) is secured, there’s a possible way to do so. Biometrics data is the fingerprint and iris data used for authentication. Read on.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

Step1: The first thing you need to do to block your biometric data is to visit the UIDAI website. This website allows you to lock as well as temporary unlock your biometrics. According to UIDAI, "this facility is given to protect privacy and confidentiality of Resident's Biometrics Data." Yes, these are the Aadhaar authority's own words.

After locking the biometrics, the locked biometrics ensures that you won’t be able to use your biometrics for authentication. In short, the data is inaccessible. Authorities claim that this prevents potential misuse.

Step 2: Click the Lock/Unlock Biometrics option under the Aadhaar Services section. Once you do that, you are redirected to another page.

Step 3: Here you need to use your Aadhaar number to avail the Biometric lock system.

Step 4: Key in your Aadhaar details. To verify that you are a human and not a software, insert the Security Code (displayed already on the page) in the space box given, and then click on send OTP for another verification step. Enter the OTP number which you get on your registered mobile to start the login.

Step 5: Next you will see the status of your Aadhaar biometric data. For instance, “Your Biometric Lock is currently disabled.” Next is to insert the new Security Code mentioned on the page in the space box provided on the page to enable the lock. Then press the enable virtual button. By enabling lock, you can lock your biometrics (fingerprint & Iris) against any biometric authentication attempt.

Once your lock is enabled, you will get the following message: Congratulation! Your Biometrics is locked.

Now, you will not be able to authenticate by using your fingerprint or iris. Which means your data is locked.

Few important things to know:

Temporary unlocking: In the future, if you want to disable the lock temporarily to make your biometrics available for authentication requirements, these steps need to be followed.

To disable the locked biometrics, you will have to login using your Aadhaar number and repeat the procedure. The only difference is that you will get the unlock option this time instead of lock option. The unlock option temporarily unlocks the biometrics, so that you can use it for a period of around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, it will automatically get locked again. You can also choose to disable the locking system, but I would recommend the former.

According to UIDAI, after locking biometrics if a UID is used for invoking any of the Authentication services using a biometric modality (Fingerprint/Iris) a specific error code '330' indicating biometrics are locked.

Regarding benefits: A few things to remember: Once your biometric data is locked, its authentication also gets blocked. If any benefits are linked to your Aadhaar number, locking makes no difference to that. Locking will restrict your data to the extent that you may not be able to authenticate it on any biometric devise. You can still continue to use Aadhaar-based authentication using the OTP-based authentication procedures. Thankfully, to lock and unlock the biometric data, you don’t have to remember any complex passwords to use this facility. All you need is your Aadhaar number and access to your registered mobile number.

On Aadhaar-based eKYC: Banks and telecom firms are increasingly using Aadhaar-based e-KYC, eliminating the need to submit physical documents. This process is followed because your fingerprints or iris scan are already done on a device, besides that UIDAI has your KYC details like name, date of birth and address already stored with it. Irrespective of whether you plan to use or not to use the Aadhaar based e-KYC, I recommend that you lock your biometric data.

Privacy and security have become the most important matter when it comes to our digital lives. We have all heard about the misuse of fingerprints by fraudsters. Locking your Aadhaar biometrics may not provide 100 percent security or privacy, but it definitely adds another layer of security.

Updated Date: Aug 17, 2017 13:01 PM

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