Ever since the Supreme Court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act this year, industries such as banks, telecom, and services have been trying to find an alternative.
As per the Supreme Court ruling, private companies can no longer make it mandatory for customers to link their Aadhaar; and private companies can no longer store the Aadhaar database.
So, what is the solution?
Govt. is now proposing to change laws and regulations, which will give them some sort of legal backing for Aadhaar usage.
On the flip side, this also makes one very crucial possibility: Aadhaar will be no longer mandatory for banking and telecom services.
Aadhaar Not Mandatory, But Optional: Proposed Laws
In order to remove the logjam which has been created due to Aadhaar ruling by the Supreme Court, Govt. has proposed some major changes in the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Once these amendments are approved, and notarized, Aadhaar will cease to become a mandatory requirement and will become an optional one for customers.
These amendments will help private companies, especially the ones in the banking and telecom industry to offer their customers an option to use Aadhaar as a valid form of identity proof.
However, both the Telegraph Act and PMLA do empower the Govt. to take over the database and cease privacy laws in case of a National Emergency.
10 Years Prison For Hacking Aadhaar Database
Besides, Govt. of India is keen to approve and pass the crucial Data Protection Bill, which was recently submitted by Justice Srikrishna Commission.
One of the provisions of this bill is strict punishment, in case anyone attempts to hack Aadhaar Data. In case this bill is passed then 10 years prison for Aadhaar hacking will be imposed.
Right now, there exist 3 years of prison for Aadhaar hacking attempt.
This bill also redefines the meaning of ‘consent’, when it comes to Aadhaar data and privacy.
The bill suggests that the ‘consent’ to give Aadhaar data to any entity shall be ‘free, informed, specific, clear and capable of being withdrawn.’
In the past, we have observed several instances of Aadhaar ‘consent’ being misused and abused, and robbery of Aadhaar data by private entities and hackers, which is dangerous.
Aadhaar-Voter ID Linking Mandatory?
At the same time, reports are emerging that Govt. may soon make linking of Aadhaar with voter ID card mandatory.
Govt. has proposed few amendments to the representation of the People Act, 1951, which will make the linking of Aadhaar with voter ID card compulsory for all.
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