As reports pour in of Amazon’s customer care agents asking its users to reveal their Aadhaar number as an identity proof to track lost packages, concerns are being raised over privacy of such data. The move by Amazon, which is a private company, asking a customer to reveal the details of a government-certified document is being questioned by experts.
Experts believe using Aadhaar as identification proof by a private company is not described as one of the five use cases of the card, which include Jan Dhan accounts, pension, and social welfare schemes among others. They further believe that the use of Aadhaar as an identity proof in online retail could create privacy issues, as far as publication of this data and related customer information is concerned.
However before jumping to conclusion, it would be well to understand the issue deeply. An Amazon spokesperson clarified that only in case of lost packages or missing delivery, where a detailed check needs to be done, does the Amazon agent ask the customer to furnish an identity proof.
The spokesperson explained, “In cases needing investigation for wrong or missing delivery, we need to authenticate customer ID as the first step and ask customers to submit a government certified identification proof in those cases. Our understanding is Aadhaar is the most ubiquitous and most widely held identification and is therefore our preferred one. Customer’s identification is a part of the investigation and enables the same, but we will carry out the necessary investigation even without it, though it may sometimes limit our process checks.”
So if a customer is unable to share a government certified identification proof, as a customer centric organization Amazon will continue to process the request based on other details shared by the customer. In case a customer does not have an Aadhaar card, a PAN Card or a passport proof would also suffice.
The spokesperson further added that Amazon continues to look for the most robust practices towards customer support and this process is only done in limited cases where a detailed check is needed for a missing or wrong delivery. In such cases, customers are requested to upload a scanned copy of their identification proof on Amazon.in account which is a secure form of storing information.