January 23, 2017 -
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government agency in charge of Aadhaar, is expected to make it mandatory for manufacturers to embed the Aadhaar encryption key into biometric devices using Aadhaar authentication, according to a report by the Business Standard.
Although all current Aadhaar-connected mobile devices are STQC certified, embedding UIDAI‘s encryption key into the devices will provide an additional layer of security to the hardware as biometric-based digital payments become more prevalent throughout the country.
Amitabh Kant, National Institution for Transforming India, recently said India could introduce biometric payments within three years, thereby eliminating the need for cash and typical electronic payment methods.
“We are going to say that in India only registered devices will work (for Aadhaar authentication). If you want to use Aadhaar authentication then your devices will have to be registered with us,” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of UIDAI. “Today, if anything has to be used for Aadhaar authentication, it has to be STQC certified. We are now going one step further, we are going to put our encryption key in every device. All devices will have to be registered by us, it will further add to the security.”
Pandey said the UIDAI will implement the initiative “in the next 4-5 months”, adding that it would apply not only to smartphones but all biometric devices which use Aadhaar authentication.
He stressed that not all smartphones will require UIDAI registration, and that the mandate will only cover those devices that want to use Aadhaar authentication.
“We always try to look ahead to see what kind of threats can come in future, and how to ensure more security” Pandey said, while revealing that the UIDAI began working on the mandate nearly six months ago.
UIDAI has also begun offering “incentives” for merchants using the biometric method for digital transactions, in an effort to promote Aadhaar-based payments in rural areas.
“If a merchant is using Aadhaar-enabled payment systems then he should be put at par with business correspondent and whatever facility and commission is available to the business correspondent, he should be paid on the same lines,” Pandey said.