Aadhaar Amendments: Strict penalty for firms collecting information without consent

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The amendments signed off by the Union Cabinet on Monday, which allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar for banking and obtaining mobile numbers.

Also, the amendment requires banks and telecom companies to abide by the judgment passed by the Supreme Court on September 26. Only the cases falling under “state interest” are exempted.

The database containing Aadhaar biometrics is kept secure and out of the access of private agencies using the electronic authentication process.

But any attempt to misuse the data is liable to a fine of Rs 50 lakh and a maximum of 10 years jail term.

In the wake of pleas by the private firms against the SC verdict claiming that the ruling is affecting the business, this amendment by the government allows private companies to do authentication based on Aadhaar. But the government has posed certain restrictions.

On collecting the Aadhaar information without the consent of the customer, the company will be liable to a fine of Rs 10,000 and a 3-year jail sentence. (It also applies to offline verification using QR codes.)

Also if any firm indulges in an unauthorized publication of the customer’s ID or
photograph, it will be liable to a fine ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

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