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Center retracts statement advising public not to share Aadhar photocopies, citing ‘misinterpretation’

The government on Sunday withdrew its press release warning citizens not to share Aadhar card details with organizations to prevent abuse. In a new press release, the government cited the possibility of “misinterpretation” as the reason for the revocation.

In addition, Aadhaar holders are only advised to exercise normal caution in use and disclosure, the statement from the Union Department of Electronics and Information Technology said.

“This is in line with the press release dated May 27, 2022 from the Bengaluru Regional Office, UIDAI,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT said today.

“It is known to have been issued by them in connection with an attempt to misuse a Photoshopped Aadhaar card. The publication advised people not to give a photocopy of their Aadhaar to organizations as they could be misused. Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar can be used, showing only the last 4 digits of the Aadhaar number,” the statement said.

It added: “Given the possibility of misinterpretation of the press release, the same are withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Earlier, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) urged citizens to only share masked copies of their Aadhaar cards to prevent abuse.

A press release said: “Do not give a photocopy of your Aadhaar to any organization as it may be misused. Alternatively, use a masked Aadhaar that only shows the last four digits of your Aadhaar number.”

The Authority has suggested the use of masked Aadhaar which only displays the last 4 digits of your Aadhaar number which can be downloaded from UIDAI official website https://myaadhaar.uidai.gov.in.

The existence of an Aadhaar number can be verified at https://myaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/verifyAadhaar. For offline verification, you can scan the QR code on eAadhaar or the Aadhaar letter or Aadhaar PVC card with a QR code scanner in mAadhaar’s mobile application, UIDAI said.

“Furthermore, unlicensed private entities such as hotels and cinemas are not permitted to collect or keep copies of the Aadhaar card,” the notice issued earlier said.

“Only organizations that have obtained a user license from the Unique Identification Authority of India can use Aadhaar to determine an individual’s identity,” the government said.

The warning sparked alarm on social media as screenshots of the press release and news articles went viral, with the topic ranking among the top 10 trending topics in India on Twitter on Sunday.

“I may have stayed in almost 100 hotels that kept a copy of my Aadhar! Now this,” said Twitter user @_NairFYI.

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