To provide an extra layer of privacy to Aadhaar, UIDAI has introduced an updated ‘QR code’ that holds non-sensitive details like name, address, photo, and date of birth, and can be used for offline user verification without the 12-digit ID number. With Aadhaar increasingly becoming the nationally-accepted ID for all kinds of work, the new QR code, that now comes with photo, can be used in offline mode in a way that will safeguard against any tempering of documents.
This would be especially handy for establishing the identity with non-statutory entities, say, the likes of online shopping portals when delivering goods. Aadhaar holders can download and print their biometric ID with the QR code from the website of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) or its mobile app. A QR code is a form of barcode label which contains machine-readable information. Users can manually blacken the Aadhaar number and use the printout with the new QR code for establishing their identity, offline too.
For example, when an online shopping delivery is made and the delivery man asks for ID, Aadhaar holder can show him the printed QR code which when scanned (through an updated QR code reader on Aadhaar site) would read non-sensitive information. This includes name, address, date of birth and photo, thus establishing the bonafide identity, sources said. It will also ensure that Aadhaar holder is genuine and not using any tampered ID documents. Aadhaar number is not given out in the entire process, nor are biometrics, thus ensuring that privacy is maintained throughout the verification process.
This new feature is available through Aadhaar downloads. Sensitive information would include details like bank accounts or biometrics, among others. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI, said: “The offline QR code is a landmark development which will allow everyone to establish their identity through offline verification without giving out Aadhaar number”. He added: “Only in those places where Aadhaar number is required under the law including banks, telecom companies, or for availing subsidies, one will have to go through the authentication process.”