Locking your Aadhaar card biometrics can prevent misuse

Your Aadhaar card contains sensitive data that only you should be able to use. So how do you keep this information safe?

Locking your Aadhaar card biometrics can prevent misuse

Over the last year, the importance of Aadhaar card has increased significantly. The Indian government has made it mandatory for individuals to submit an Aadhar card application and get enrolled. The benefits of Aadhar card are many, and hence, Aadhar card linking with various other documents such as PAN card has been made compulsory. It is not just a regular identification card, but is a unique document as it contains essential information, including demographic and biometric details. It involves your fingerprints, eyes (iris) details, and your photo identity.

Related: What you need to know about linking your Aadhaar and PAN card?

Why is biometric data important?

Biometric data is now being used for Aadhaar card verification. For example, if you need a new mobile connection and require a SIM card, you will have to submit your Aadhaar card information as identification proof. For this process, you can use your fingerprints for verification, enabling the mobile operator to get the necessary identity information. Biometric system can quicken identification processes. However, this biometric data is unique to you, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands. For this reason, it is important that you warrant its security to prevent any misuse.

A recent news story claimed that sensitive information such as Aadhaar card numbers and other personal details of many people were leaked through government portals. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), however, clarified that the core biometric data of Aadhaar card holders has not come under cyber attack yet. While this is certainly good news for everyone, it is important that we are aware and proactive in ensuring security of Aadhar card information.

Fortunately, to help prevent any misuse of this data, the UIDAI has devised a way to lock biometric information. 

Related: What are the new Aadhaar features- virtual ID and limited KYC and how do they work?

How to lock and unlock Aadhaar biometrics

The process of locking the Aadhaar biometrics is quite simple and can be completed within minutes. Here’s how you can lock and unlock this data:

• Visit the UIDAI homepage or visit https://resident.uidai.gov.in/biometric-lock 

• Under ‘Aadhaar Card Services’ click on the Lock/Unlock Biometrics’ option

• Enter your 12-digit Aadhaar card number 

• Enter the security code or captcha displayed on your screen

• You will then receive an OTP (One Time Password) on your registered mobile phone via SMS

• Enter the OTP and a security key or password of your choice

• Check on ‘Enable Biometric Locking’ and then click on ‘Enable’

• Your Aadhaar biometrics will then be locked

Aadhaar activation is easy. You can unlock your card whenever you need to use your biometrics for verification, but this can only be done online. Ensure your registered mobile number is active. In case, you do not have a registered mobile number, you must fill up and submit a form for the same by visiting any enrolment centre.

There are certain things you must remember when you lock your Aadhaar card information, such as:

• Once your Aadhaar card is locked, any biometric-based authentication will only be possible through One Time Password, which is sent to your phone

• You will not be able to use biometrics as a primary authenticator; some other identity proof will be required for verification 

• Banks may be unable to access biometric information stored in the main server if your Aadhaar card is disabled, and this could lead to failed transactions

In the past, there have been many cases of passwords and important personal data being stolen, or websites being hacked. To minimise the possibility of identity frauds, Aadhaar biometrics can be locked to prevent unauthorised persons from accessing it. 

Related: Aadhaar linking with PAN now mandatory for filing Income Tax Returns 

After locking Aadhaar card biometrics

Once you lock your Aadhaar card biometrics, you will not be able to use fingerprint/ iris data for any authentication. It goes on restricted use, to prevent potential misuse. If you want to use your biometrics for authentication purposes later, you can unlock this data by unchecking the ‘Enable biometric locking’, and then clicking ‘Disable’. The data can be used for a period of 10 minutes, after which, it will automatically get locked again.

How to cancel Aadhar card

You cannot cancel or surrender your Aadhar card as there is no provision for the same, even in case of death. Hence, it is not necessary to inform UIDAI if you, unfortunately, lose a loved one. But you can take precautionary steps to prevent misuse of the biometric authentication. As a security measure, legal heirs should get the biometrics of the deceased person locked.

Have any more Aadhaar related questions? Ask them in the comments section below


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