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Telcos call for voluntary use of Aadhaar in e-KYC process

Telecom operators are pushing the government to explore legal ways to bring back Aadhaar based customer verification by either approaching the Supreme Court for allowing voluntary use of the unique 12-digit number for the electronic know your customer (e-KYC) process or bringing in a legislative framework. The view is that if mobile phone companies are allowed to offer Aadhaar-based verification as a voluntary option to customers, then they do not need to implement any other digital KYC method, a time-taking and costly affair. This comes even as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and carriers have worked out a new way of e-KYC — a live picture of the user with time stamp and photo of a government-issued ID card. But by the time the order came, 90% of new subscriptions had already used the unique ID due to factors such as convenience, though some avoid giving the biometric ID on fears of privacy and data leakage. More than 500 million, or about half of India’s mobile phone users, have linked Aadhaar to their phone numbers.

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