UIDAI launches virtual identification number feature allowing users to generate a VID to safeguard their Aadhaar numbers

The 16-digit Virtual Identification (VID) number is supposed to keep the actual number hidden to protect the privacy of one's Aadhaar details.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) launched its Virtual Identification (VID) number feature on 2 April 2018. UIDAI introduced this number so that Aadhaar holders can use it in place of their original Aadhaar number to maintain privacy while availing services.

Representational image. CNN-News18 image.

Representational image. CNN-News18 image.

The VID number can be generated on UIDAI's website. According to a tweet from the UIDAI, the VID will soon be accepted to avail services. However, it does not mention how it intends to launch VID feature for Aadhaar holders who do not have access to the internet.

To generate the VID, existing Aadhaar holders can visit the UIDAI website, locate 'Aadhaar services' in the 'Aadhaar Online Services' section and click on the option 'Virtual Identification (VID) Generator'. Next, the users need to fill in their Aadhaar number and write the given security code. On submitting the details, an OTP is sent to the user for authentication.

After authentication, the user receives his or her virtual identification number on their registered mobile number or emails. The virtual identification number can be generated multiple times, and each time it generates a new VID, the previous one becomes invalid. According to a report by The Economic Times, a beta version of VID has been launched.

The plan to launch a virtual identity number was introduced when a Tribune story had revealed that the demographic data of the people who were enrolled with the Aadhaar had been leaked and could be bought at a cost of Rs 500. Following this, the idea of a virtual identity number was hatched. UIDAI will complete the rollout of VID by 1 June.

The 16-digit VID number is supposed to keep the actual number hidden to protect the privacy of one's Aadhaar details, however, this comes years after the national rollout of the Aadhaar number. In the meantime, Government of India has mandated the citizens to link their Aadhaar numbers to avail a number of services from getting Direct Benefit Transfers to registering to get a new SIM card to a new bank account among other things.

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