The Aadhaar card Act 2016 and its silent features

This article is written by Shifali a student in 2nd year BA LLB, at Lovely Professional University. This article is dealing with the aadhaar Card Act 2016 and its silent features.

On March 11, 2016, the Parliament passed the Aadhaar Act 2016, which provides for the smooth distribution of benefits and the management of various social programmes while also giving the Aadhaar project legal support. It aims to target the delivery of subsidies and services to Indian people by assigning them special identification numbers known as Aadhaar numbers. It attempts to reduce the unfair advantages enjoyed by intermediaries in the process and streamline government-funded benefits and services by catering to the targeted distribution of incentives directly to the recipients.

Features

Enrollment

  • Every resident is entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number.
  • The enrolling agency must inform the applicant of how the information will be used, the types of parties with whom it may be shared during authentication, their rights to access the information, and its procedures before the applicant can enrol.
  • Aadhaar can be used as identification documentation. It cannot, however, be used as identification or proof of residency.

Authentication

  • The Central or State Government may stipulate that obtaining an Aadhaar authentication is necessary in order to be eligible for a subsidy, benefit, or service.
  • It gives asking entities instructions on how to get a person’s permission and advises them of the potential uses of the information they submitted for authentication.
  • The agency or requesting party may only use the supplied information in accordance with the individual’s consent.

Establishment & composition of authority

  • The Act calls for the establishment of a body known as the Unique Identification Authority of India for enrollment and authentication. (UIAD).
  • A chief executive officer, two part-time members, and a chairperson (either full- or part-time) make up the Authority.
  • The Authority’s primary responsibilities include creating policies, procedures, and systems for issuing Aadhaar numbers and carrying out authentication of such numbers. A minimum of 10 years of experience in areas like technology, governance, etc. is required of the chairperson and members.

Protection of Information

  • The authority must protect the privacy of biometric data and only use it to generate and authenticate Aadhaar.
  • Without the concerned Aadhaar holder’s permission, the identity information of the individual undergoing authentication may not be utilised for any other reason than that stated at the time of authentication.
  • Except for the purposes prescribed by rules, no Aadhaar number or basic biometric information may be published, exhibited, or uploaded publicly.
  • The Authority is not permitted to gather, keep, or manage any data used for authentication.

Circumstances under which information may be revealed

  • Only disclosures pursuant to a court order or a disclosure made in the interest of national security on the instruction of an officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary to the Government of India may be made of identity information or authentication records. A committee made up of the Cabinet Secretary, the Secretaries to the Government of India in the Departments of Legal Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology, shall also evaluate any directive issued on matters of national security. Core biometric information, however, must never be disclosed.
  • An individual’s Aadhaar number, picture, and demographic data may be made public by court order.

Offences and Penalties

Penalties apply for violating the Act’s rules. Identity information disclosure, illegal access to the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR), unlawful use of identity information by the requesting entity, and non-compliance with the intimation requirements are all punishable offences.

If a requesting entity violates the guidelines, it may be penalised with up to a year in jail, a fine of up to Rs. 10,000, or both.

No offence may be brought before a court without a complaint being filed by the UID authority or someone it has authorized.

Some threats hanging over Aadhaar

  • There are significant worries about phone Aadhaar cards being produced by dishonest means in order to take advantage of government welfare programmes intended for the truly indigent members of this society.
  • The country’s national security is gravely threatened by the issuing of Aadhaar cards through illegal means. It has been noted that illegal immigrants have acquired Aadhaar identities in numerous locations, taking advantage of numerous government programs, and defrauding those with legitimate needs who are left out of social programmes.
  • Issue of Identity Theft- It’s frightening to think about identity theft occurring through the theft of iris and finger print biometric data. Biometric information cannot be recreated, only lost or forgotten passwords. Since each person’s biometric data is unique, the UIDAI has undoubtedly developed the highest level of cyber security and several data protection barriers to preserve and safeguard the data.
  • Over 1 billion Indians’ biometric and demographic information is stored in the vaults of the Central Identities Data Repository.
  • However, without two-factor authentication, the Aadhaar number cannot be implemented or used for any advantages or services.

 Conclusion

In order to protect personal data from misuse and theft by hackers and to ensure that it is protected and secured with the technology of the highest standard of cybersecurity, a very sound legal framework is required due to the growth of digital commerce, e-payments, e-governance, government projects involving the creation of databases, and increased use of information technology by both government and corporations.

The Aadhaar Act 2016 is a positive start towards securing the PII and SPII (biometric information like fingerprints, iris scans, and addresses) of India’s billion-plus citizens and creating a strong legal framework to prevent its abuse, fabrication, or fraud.

References

https://www.datasecure.ind.in/blogs/aadhaar-act-2016-and-its-salient-features/

https://blog.theleapjournal.org/2016/07/privacy-concerns-in-aadhaar-act-2016.html#gsc.tab=0

https://legalstudymaterial.com/the-aadhar-act/

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