Even though mandatory Aadhaar linkage to various services faces legal challenge and evokes privacy concerns, it seems Aadhaar is well on its way to become the most authentic identity proof.
Now even Facebook wants you to use your Aadhaar while creating a new account. Facebook is testing a new feature which encourages those opening new accounts to submit their names as in their Aadhaar cards. “Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you,” says the prompt when one submits the name for a new account. However, not everyone sees this prompt while opening a new account. Facebook says this is a new feature and only a few of the users would see this, according to reports. According to Facebook, this is an optional prompt and users are not required to enter the name on their Aadhaar card.
Though the Facebook prompt can hardly be seen as something to evoke concerns over privacy since it is not asking for the Aadhaar number, the move is sure to gain attention since increasingly mandatory use of Aadhaar for various services has been opposed by several activists.
Facebook is not the first private agency to ask for Aadhaar details. A few weeks ago, online retailer Amazon had asked customers to upload their Aadhaar numbers to track lost packages. A Bengaluru-based car rental platform Zoomcar had said it won’t accept bookings without Aadhaar as proof of identity.
However, Amazon believes it has a secure form of storing 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,” its spokesperson said.
Experts highlighted 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,” said lawyer Smitha Prasad, project manager, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi