The information technology ministry on Sunday withdrew an advisory issued by one of its offices asking citizens not to share photocopies of their Aadhaar cards with unlicenced private entities.
On Friday, the Bengaluru regional office of the Unique Identification Authority of India had issued a press release warning that photocopies of the document could be misused.
Citizens should instead use masked Aadhaar which displays only the last four digits of the unique identification number, the press release from Friday stated. Masked Aadhaar can be downloaded from the website of the Unique Identification Authority of India.
However, on Sunday, the information technology ministry revoked the advisory “in view of the possibility of misinterpretation” of the press release. This was after social media users pointed out that the government has repeatedly rejected concerns raised by privacy rights activists about misuse of Aadhaar.
On Friday, Unique Identification Authority of India had said that it is an offence under the Aadhaar Act 2016, for private facilities like hotels and film halls to collect copies of Aadhaar cards.
“Only those organisations that have obtained a user licence from the UIDAI can use Aadhaar for establishing the identity of a person,” the advisory had stated.
The government had also advised avoiding the use of public computers at internet cafes or kiosks to e-Aadhaar, a digital version of the document.
On Sunday, however, the government said that citizens “are only advised to exercise normal prudence” for using and sharing Aadhaar details. The advisory on Friday had been issued “in the context of an attempt to misuse a photoshopped Aadhaar card”, the government said.