The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Sunday withdrew its May 27 statement in which it cautioned people against sharing photocopy of Aadhaar with any organisation as it can be misused. ” in view of the possibility of the misinterpretation of the Press Release, the same stands withdrawn with immediate effect,” it said.
The May 27 statement assumed significance as people have been asked to link their Aadhaar with PAN and a significant number of people have already done that. Aadhaar is also linked with bank accounts, which makes any vulnerability of Aadhaar data leak more worrisome.
In the May 27 statement, the UIDAI asked people, “Do not share photocopy of your Aadhaar with any organisations because it can be misused. Alternatively, please use a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of your Aadhaar number. It can be downloaded from UIDAI official website https://myaadhaar.uidai.gov.in. Please select the option ‘Do you want a masked Aadhaar’ and proceed to download.”
The UIDAI on Sunday said, “This is in pursuant of the Press Release dated 27 May 2022 by the Bengaluru Regional Office, UIDAI. It is learnt that it was issued by them in the context of an attempt to misuse a photoshopped Aadhaar card. The release advised the people to not to share photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organization because it can be misused. Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of Aadhaar number, can be used. However, in view of the possibility of the misinterpretation of the Press Release, the same stands withdrawn with immediate effect.
It said the UIDAI issued Aadhaar card holders are only advised to exercise normal prudence in using and sharing their UIDAI Aadhaar numbers. The Aadhaar Identity Authentication ecosystem has provided adequate features for protecting and safeguarding the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar holder.
According to the earlier May 27 statement, “Only those organisations that have obtained a user licence from the UIDAI can use Aadhaar for establishing the identity of a person. Unlicensed private entities like hotels or film halls are not permitted to collect or keep copies of Aadhaar card. It is an offence under the Aadhaar Act 2016. If a private3 entity demands to see your Aadhaar card, or seeks a photocopy of your Aadhaar card, please verify that they have valid user licence from the UIDAI.”
The ministry also asked people to avoid a public computer at an internet cafe to download e-Aadhaar. “However, if you do so, please ensure that you delete all the downloaded copies of e-Aadhaar permanently from that computer.”
The government has asked people to link their Aadhaar with PAN. “Till March 31, 2023, the PAN of the assessees who have not intimated their Aadhaar, will continue to be functional for the procedures under the Act, like furnishing of return of income, processing of refunds, etc,” the finance ministry has said.
In a statement on March 30, the finance ministry said, “After March 31, 2023, the PAN of taxpayers who fail to intimate their Aadhaar, as required, shall become inoperative and all the consequences under the Act (Income Tax Act, 1961) for not furnishing, intimating or quoting the PAN shall apply to such taxpayers.”