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Locking your Aadhaar card biometrics can prevent misuse

Over the last year, the importance of Aadhaar card has increased significantly. The Indian government has made it mandatory for individuals to link this document with various other documents such as PAN card, driving license etc. It is not just a regular identification card, but is a unique document as it contains essential information, including demographic and biometric details. Between the two, the latter is far more important as it involves your fingerprints, eyes (iris) details, and your photo identity.

Related: Soon Aadhaar may be the only I.D proof you need

Why is biometric data important?

Biometric data is now being used for Aadhaar verification. For example, if you need a new mobile connection and require a SIM card, you will have to submit your Aadhaar card as identification proof. For this process, you can use your fingerprints for verification, enabling the mobile operator to get the necessary identity information. Biometric data can quicken identification processes. However, this biometric data is unique to you, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands. For this reason, it is important that you keep it safe, to prevent any misuse.

A recent news story claimed that sensitive information such as Aadhaar numbers and other personal details of many people were leaked through government portals. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), however, clarified that the core biometric data of Aadhaar card holders has not come under cyberattack yet. While this is certainly good news for everyone, it is important that we are aware and proactive when it comes to protecting our personal information.

Fortunately, to help prevent any misuse of this data, the UIDAI has devised a way to lock biometric information.

Related: What you need to know about linking your Aadhaar and PAN card?

How to Lock and Unlock Aadhar Card biometrics

The process of locking the Aadhar Card biometrics is quite simple and can be completed within minutes. Here’s how you can lock and unlock this data:

• Visit the UIDAI home page or visit

• Under ‘Aadhar Card Services’ click on the Lock/Unlock Biometrics’ option

• Enter your 12-digit Aadhaar card number

• Enter the security code or captcha displayed on your screen

• You will then receive an OTP (One Time Password) on your registered mobile phone via SMS

• Enter the OTP and a security key or password of your choice

• Check on ‘Enable Biometric Locking’ and then click on ‘Enable’

• Your Aadhar Card Biometrics will then be locked.

You can unlock your card whenever you need to use your biometrics for verification, but this can only be done online. Ensure your registered mobile number is active. In case, you do not have a registered mobile number, you must fill up and submit a form for the same by visiting any enrolment center.

There are certain things you must remember when you lock your Aadhaar information, such as

• Once your Aadhar card is locked, any biometric-based authentication will only be possible through One Time Password, which is sent to your phone

• You will not be able to use biometrics as a primary authenticator; some other identity proof will be required for verification

• Banks may be unable to access biometric information stored in the main server if your Aadhaar card is disabled, and this could lead to failed transactions.

In the past, there have many cases of passwords and important personal data being stolen, or websites being hacked. To minimise the possibility of identity frauds, Aadhar biometrics can be locked, to prevent unauthorised persons from accessing it.

Related: 7 benefits of Aadhaar Card

After locking Aadhar card biometrics

Once you lock your Aadhaar card biometrics, you will not be able to use fingerprint/ iris data for any authentication. It goes on restricted use, to prevent potential misuse. If you want to use your biometrics for authentication purposes later, you can unlock this data by unchecking the ‘Enable biometric locking’, and then clicking ‘Disable’. The data can be used for a period of 10 minutes, after which, it will automatically get locked again.
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