Current Affairs – 11-01-2018

1. MICROBEADS

  • Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than five millimeters in their largest dimension.
  • They are most frequently made of polyethylene but can be of other petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene.
  • They are used in exfoliating personal care products, toothpastes and in biomedical and healthscience research.
  • Microbeads can cause plastic particle water pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in freshwater and ocean water.
  • In the US, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 phases out microbeads in rinse off cosmetics by July 2017. The Netherlands was the first country to ban cosmetic microbeads in 2014.
  • Microbeads are washed down the drain, can pass unfiltered through the sewage treatment plants and make their way into rivers and canals, resulting in plastic particle water pollution.
  • A variety of wildlife, from small fish, amphibians and turtles to birds and larger mammals, mistake microbeads for their food source.
  • This ingestion of plastics introduces the potential for toxicity not only to these animals but to other species higher in the food chain.
  • Greenpeace refers to it as a “toxic time bomb”. Once in the marine environment microplastics can both release and absorb toxins, which can then move throughout the foodchain.

2. UIDAI INTRODUCES 2-TIER SECURITY TO SHIELD AADHAAR DATA

Aimed at eliminating the need to share and store Aadhaar numbers, the UIDAI has introduced the concept of a virtual ID which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, besides sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies.

  • A Virtual ID (VID) will be a temporary 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number. There can only be one active and valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time and it will not be possible to derive the Aadhaar number from VID. The VID authentication will be similar to using Aadhaar numbers. However, since a VID is temporary, agencies will not be able to use it for de-duplication. Only the Aadhaar holder will be able to generate a VID and no other entity, including authentication user agencies (AUAs), can do it on their behalf.
  • The UIDAI has brought in the concept of limited KYC. It has categorised its AUAs into Global AUAs and Local AUAs wherein the latter will get access to only need based or limited KYC details. AUAs, which by law are required to use Aadhaar number in their KYCs, will be categorised as Global AUAs and have access to Full e-KYC and the ability to store Aadhaar numbers within their system.
  • Once storage of Aadhaar number is restricted and since VID is temporary, agencies need a mechanism to uniquely identify their customers within their system, For this, a 72 character alphanumeric ‘UID Token’ will be generated for “system use”. UID token allows an agency to ensure uniqueness of its beneficiaries, customers etc. without having to store Aadhaar number in their databases.
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