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To further strengthen privacy and security of 12-digit Aadhaar number, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has introduced Virtual ID.  Aadhaar holders can use it in lieu of their Aadhaar number to avoid sharing of the Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, said a circular issued by UIDAI.

"The Virtual ID would be a random 16-digit number and Aadhaar card holders can generate it from UIDAI website directly. People can use Virtual ID in lieu of Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed. Authentication may be performed using the Virtual ID in a manner similar to using Aadhaar number," stated the UIDAI circular.

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According to the UIDAI circular, the virtual ID will be a temporary ID mapped with the Aadhaar number. It will not be possible to derive the Aadhaar number from the virtual ID.

Besides Virtual ID, UIDAI has also introduced the concept of 'limited KYC' under which it will only provide need-based or limited details of a user to an authorised agency that is providing a particular service, says PTI quoting a teleco.

Aadhaar-issuing body will start accepting the Virtual ID from March 1, 2018. From June 1, 2018, it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users.

The new move is an attempt to address the privacy and security concerns of Aadhaar data and comes amid heightened concerns around the collection and storage of personal and demographic data of individuals.