The government is moving ahead with linking Aadhaar with mobile SIM cards and all unlinked phones will be deactivated after February 2018. Sources told news agency IANS that linking of Aadhaar and mobile is being done as per the orders of the Supreme Court passed in February this year in the Lokniti foundation case and all SIM cards have to be verified with Aadhaar within a year from the date of judgement, with all unlinked phones to be deactivated thereafter (after February 2018), so criminals, fraudsters and terrorists cannot use the issued SIM cards.
The sources said that biometrics cannot be stored by the mobile operators nor do they have access to any of the other personal data. That the biometrics collected should be encrypted by the telecom company and sent to UIDAI as it is being done and any storage of biometric by a service provider is a criminal offence punishable with up to three years of imprisonment under the Aadhaar Act 2016.
The Central government had assured the Supreme Court in February that it would put in place, within a year, an effective mechanism for the verification of pre-paid mobile users who constitute 90 per cent of the total subscribers. The Supreme Court had disposed of the petition by Lokniti Foundation seeking the scrutiny of the subscribers so that those having pre-paid mobile connections on fake identities are weeded out.