The UIDAI tweeted that residents could generate their VIDs right away, but service providers were expected to start accepting them “soon”. The authority added the new VIDs could be used for updating registered addresses on the Aadhaar e-portal.
The VID system was announced in January amid rising security concerns over the security of Aadhaar data, which is shared with service providers such as banks, insurance companies and telecom operators. While announcing the launch of VID, the UIDAI had claimed the new system would provide the required anonymity with a randomly generated number that could be deactivated and regenerated according to one’s need.
The new system was supposed to be launched on March 1 but the UIDAI had remained silent for the last four weeks about the launch.
Though the VID system was launched on Monday, service providers have until June 1 to start accepting VIDs, failing which their authentication facilities can be revoked.
“The Aadhaar number being a permanent ID for life, there is a need to provide a mechanism to ensure its continued use by the holder, while optimally protecting the collection and storage of the Aadhaar number itself in many databases,” the circular added.
It was expected that the UIDAI would allow multiple virtual IDs to be generated with each UID. In its current form, however, only one VID can be generated for an Aadhaar number at a time.
The VID launch also comes in the midst of an ongoing Supreme Court case on the constitutional validity of the UID project. Last week, UIDAI Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey made a presentation to a five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and said the VID would solve security problems related to Aadhaar.
However, the Bench questioned the ease of use of VID and asked how people in the rural parts of the country would generate the number off the internet each time they needed to link their Aadhaar number to a service. The Bench had also asked Pandey to submit a note to the court on how the VID would function.
Subhashis Banerjee, professor of computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and a member of the UIDAI’s security review committee, said the limitation of being able to generate only one VID per day did not “make much sense”.
“I do not understand the reason behind this restriction. So, if you have to give it to one telecom operator and one wallet company, then you have to wait for a day to generate a new VID,” he said.
“If VID has to work, it has to be implemented well and service providers will take time to come on board. Right now, clear directions on implementation and specifications are also missing,” he added.