Amazon, Zoomcar asks for Aadhaar details, UIDAI urges people to be cautious

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After banks and telecom sectors made it mandatory for customers to submit Aadhaar details (as per government directives), internet companies have started demanding Aadhaar card numbers from customers to avail their services.

Amazon wants to have your Aadhaar numbers to track lost packages, while Bengaluru-based car rental platform Zoomcar has said it won’t accept bookings without Aadhaar as proof of identity, according to a Buzzfeed News report.

The two companies have their own reasons for the 12-digit unique identity number. Amazon feels that  Aadhaar is the most widely held government ID and so, it requires it to authenticate customer identity.

According to Zoomcar, Aadhaar has the best API integration, the latest documents are getting connected with bank accounts. If you have an Aadhaar card, you have the KYC (know your customer) sorted.

But, the question is can these companies insist for Aadhaar details and is it safe to share the details with them?

The answer to both the questions exists in the two tweets written from an official Twitter account of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

In a tweet, UIDAI asked Aadhaar card holders to be very discreet about their Aadhaar and other identity documents and urged them to not share the document number or a printed copy with anyone.

In another tweet, it urged people to submit the self-attest copy of Aadhaar with stating the purpose of it.

“Wherever you are submitting a copy of your Aadhaar, self-attest it and state the purpose clearly to avoid misuse,” the tweet read. Clearly, UIDAI suspects if your Aadhaar number lands with a third party it can be misused.

Amazon defends its move as it claims to secure customer information.

“Amazon continues to look for the most robust practices towards customer support and this process is only done in limited cases where a detailed check is needed for a missing or wrong delivery. In such cases, customers are requested to upload a scanned copy of their Aadhaar card on their Amazon.in account, which is a secure form of storing information,” said Amazon spokesperson talking to TOI.

However, experts feel otherwise and they said that there are privacy risks of sharing Aadhaar information. The use of Aadhaar in this manner could lead to privacy risks in terms of implications of publication of Aadhaar data, as well as the use of data including Aadhaar and other customer information that could lead to individual profiling.

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