Dec 052015

Government Wants You to Provide ID Proofs to Sign Up on Matrimonial Websites. Will You?

The incidents of fraud taking place on Matrimonial websites have caught government’s eye. While things were on system’s radar from more than an year, it’s now that government has decided to crack down on such behavior. And the weapon that they’ve chosen to do so are Identity proofs. A panel of five members from different ministries of government has been set up to prepare norms for matrimonial websites, which are part of an unregulated 400 crores online matchmaking market. The norms will require users to submit valid government ID proofs for signing up on these websites.

While original idea suggested by Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi was to use Aadhaar card for authenticating profiles on these sites, it seems like usage of other documents like passport, voter ID card or any other document that’s considered an identity proof by the government will also be allowed.

While government’s concerns over increasing cases of cyber stalking, fraud and cheating are understandable, how effective usage of identity proofs will be to prevent such cases remains to be seen. As always, there’re two sides of the coin.

While using ID proofs to authenticate profiles may certainly help in controlling the number of fake profiles, it may also become a roadblock for users to look up for their partners online. There’re many people having no identity proof, who may find it extremely tough (or even impossible) to find a partner online if such a requirement is enforced.

Plus, this move may also shoot businesses of matrimony websites in the foot. While most websites have promised that security will be beefed up, they’re skeptical of this compulsory requirement being enforced by the system., the largest of all these players, already uses identity proofs and education certificates to add two separate badges of “online trust” and “professional trust” to user profiles, but the requirement is optional – not compulsory. And while it’s true that profiles with these badges get maximum responses, making any of these things compulsory may discourage the users from signing up on these sites.

Another question that businesses in online matchmaking market need to think about will be payment for API usage of Aadhaar card. Will these businesses have to pay to government for this usage of authenticating profiles? If yes, then it’s just another layer of red tape, which doesn’t make doing business in India easy.

Only time will tell how this new implementation works out.

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