UIDAI, DoT clarify on disconnection of SIM cards issued through Aadhaar

UIDAI, DoT clarify on disconnection of SIM cards issued through Aadhaar

On Wednesday, a DoT official told news agency PTI the government would ensure that telecom customers do not face any disruption in services due to change in KyC regime following the court order.

This clarification issued today is welcome as it was being feared that over 50 crore mobile connections or nearly half of India's phone population faced disconnection if SIM cards procured on the basis of Aadhaar verification were not backed up by a fresh authentication.

The Supreme Court, in its September 26 verdict, struck down compulsory linking of mobile phone numbers to Aadhaar.

This issue has come up following the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar where court barred private companies from using individual's unique ID for authentication.

After getting telecom companies to submit their exit plans from Aadhaar-based services, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar regulatory body, has now asked digital payment companies to stop offering any sort of Aadhaar-based service on their platforms. "But in any case his mobile number will not be disconnected".

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For the operators, the apex court's verdict put them in a flux since they were following DoT's March circular, which recommended the use of Aadhaar for biometric verification for e-KYC. Instead, all it said was that UIDAI should not keep authentication log for more than six months.

"In the proposed process, live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude, and time stamp will be captured".

The DoT also informed that the apex court has asked UIDAI not to keep authentication log for more than six months.

The Telecom Ministry, in a joint statement with Aadhaar authority UIDAI, said that the Supreme Court has prohibited issue of new SIM cards through Aadhaar eKYC authentication process, however, there is no direction by the top court to deactivate the old mobile phones (which have Aadhaar eKYC). The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and SIM card will be issued.

Customers would be asked to submit an alternative ID and address proof such as a voter's card or PAN card, passport, driving licence, electricity or gas bill for obtaining a SIM card or face disconnection if they don't submit. "This process will be completely hassle-free and digital", informed the joint statement.

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