Did you know that you could lock and probably unlock your Aadhaar number permanently? If you’re curious to know how, read on…
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number and is one of the most accepted proof of identification in India. It is widely accepted in both Government and private sectors. Even though it is not mandatory anymore, Aadhaar still is preferred by financial institutions and banks. The reason of its widespread acceptance lies partially on its unique characteristics of capturing biometric data. Fingerprints and Iris image are biometric data along with demographic information like name, date of birth and address relate to your Aadhaar number. The combination of biometric and demographic information makes Aadhaar a unique identification instrument.
What is Aadhaar Lock and Unlock?
When you share your Aadhaar information as your identity proof, some agencies might get access to your biometrics. Hence, to avoid possible misuse and mishandling of your Aadhaar data, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has come up with the facility of locking your Aadhaar biometrics online. Privacy and security of your personal data is of primary focus and you can control viewing of your Aadhaar information. More specifically, your biometric data by other parties by locking and unlocking 12-digit Aadhaar number online.
You can carry out locking and unlocking of your Aadhaar biometrics by downloading mAadhaar App in your mobile which is registered with UIDAI. You can do the same by going to the website: resident.uidai.gov.in . Once your Aadhaar number is locked in the UID portal, you cannot carry out any type of authentication like demographic, biometric or authentication based on OTP by using UID or similar method. In such cases, you can authenticate any agency or party concerned to access your Aadhaar data by using the 16-digit VID (Virtual ID) Number. By using VID, you can authenticate the agency to access all forms of your Aadhaar data like demographic, biometric and OTP.
However, you can unlock the UID going to the resident portal or from mAadhaar App in your mobile. Unlocking will enable you to authenticate using UID and related methods. VID still remains a viable option for you to authenticate personal Aadhaar data.
Now, let’s dive deeper and understand the pros and cons of Aadhaar Biometric Lock
Advantages and Disadvantages of Aadhaar Biometric Lock
- Because of the wide acceptance of Aadhaar and the information it has, Aadhaar has become a very crucial proof of identity. At the same time, there is a high change of mishandling your Aadhaar data. Locking Aadhaar data helps to prevent your data to be in the wrong hand.
- Once you keep your biometric lock on, no one can use the data. For any purpose if you need to unlock it, it will remain unlocked for 10 minutes and subsequently, it will be auto-locked again.
- There are certain disadvantages also. Once you lock your biometrics, it is not accessible for any authentication purposes. In case the resident website is down, you cannot avail the facility to unlock your data, even though it might be urgent.
How Aadhaar Biometric could be Unlocked Permanently?
If you need to access Aadhaar data more frequently, then locking it could be a problem since each time, it will need to follow the procedure of unlocking. Keeping the Aadhaar biometrics unlocked permanently will be more user-friendly, even though safety of your Aadhaar data might get compromised. The process of unlocking the biometrics permanently could be accomplished if you ‘Disable’ the lock.
Disabling Your Aadhaar Biometrics
- In case you want to remove the lock from your biometrics, you can disable the lock permanently
- You must disable your biometrics lock by accessing it through online portal only
- From mAadhaar App, your Aadhaar biometrics lock cannot be disabled
- To disable it online, access UIDAI portal and then login using your Aadhar card number
- Enter the security code displayed on the portal and click on ‘Disable’ button
- Your Biometrics will be permanently disabled
- Once the lock is disabled, you do not need to ‘unlock’ your Aadhaar biometrics again
- Disabling your biometrics permanently will make your data unprotected
- In future, if you want to protect your biometric data, you have to ‘lock’ it again going to the resident portal of UIDAI
Is Unlocking Aadhaar Biometrics permanently Essential?
For performing e-KYC, Virtual ID (VID) could be used instead of unlocking the biometrics. VID is a 16-digit number, which is temporary and revocable, and it is mapped with your Aadhaar number. The way of authentication using VID is like using your Aadhaar number. But your Aadhaar number cannot be derived from the VID. You can generate VID once in every calendar day. This being temporary, storing your VID by agencies does not make sense since you can change it immediately after you share the VID with them for certain authentication purposes. Once you generate a new VID, the previous one will get void.
Being a holder of Aadhaar number, you can generate, retrieve and replace your VID. There are various ways to do these. You can go to UIDAI’s Resident portal, mAadhaar mobile App, Aadhaar enrollment centres, and e-Aadhaar download. VID also could be sent to your registered mobile via SMS. For SMS, you must send SMS: ‘GVID followed by last 4 digits of your Aadhaar number’ to 1947 from your registered mobile.
You need to remember certain points while locking, unlocking or disabling your Aadhaar biometrics.
Unlocking your Aadhaar biometrics permanently could be done only through resident portal online. This service is not available through mAadhaar mobile app
For the process of locking/ unlocking of biometrics, the OTP will be sent only to your mobile number which you have registered with Aadhaar. Hence, a registered mobile number is mandatory for this feature
In case your mobile number is not yet registered with Aadhaar, you can visit your nearest Aadhaar Enrolment center or mobile update facility
- You cannot avail the service, if your mobile number is not linked with Aadhaar
- You do not need to pay any fee for locking, unlocking or disabling the biometrics
- This process of locking/ unlocking of biometrics is only possible online. You cannot get it done by physically walking to any Aadhaar center
- Once the biometrics are locked, if you want to try UID for authentication purposes by using biometric parameters like fingerprint or retinal matching, you will get a specific error code of ‘330’. This error code indicates that your biometrics are locked
Finally, you should understand the importance of Aadhaar biometrics and the importance of keeping the data protected. If unlocking the Aadhaar biometrics is needed for certain period of time, always keep in mind that it is better idea to keep the data locked once the need is over.
Recommended Read: How do you check your Aadhar Card validity?