UIDAI stops Aadhaar enrollment service by private rural partners

The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has declined to renew its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the country’s network of common service centers (CSCs) to provide Aadhaar enrollment services, The Quint reports. CSCs were established in 2006 to provide services to rural areas to reduce the need for Indians to travel long distances to have access to government services. By 2016, there were nearly 200,000 operating in the country, 25,000 of which were authorized by UIDAI to capture biometrics

Indian Justices attempt to clarify legal positions as Aadhaar constitutional challenge continues

Challenges to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar program in India’s Supreme Court continue to be heard, with Court Justices attempting to clarify the legal position of the petitions against it, The Hindu reports. The hearings are considering 27 writ petitions together, the first of which was initiated seven years ago, according to the Hindu. On the eighth day of hearings this week, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal questioned why the authentication of identity should be linked to biometrics. “With other

UIDAI reiterates essential services cannot be denied for lack of Aadhaar number, threatens legal action

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued a statement stressing that the Aadhaar Act clearly and universally bans denial of essential services from its public distribution system (PDS), despite media reports of hospitalization and medical treatment being denied. The agency also threatened to take “strict action” against departments unlawfully denying essential benefits, and encouraged individuals to make use of the complaint process if necessary. Essential services and benefits under Aadhaar include school admission and rations, in addition to

India to link Aadhaar with driver’s licenses

India’s federal government has told the Supreme Court that it will link Aadhaar numbers with driver’s licenses in order to weed out fake licenses, the Economic Times reports. A committee on road safety, appointed by the court and headed by former Supreme Court Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, also said that software is in development to provide all Indian states with the capability to check licenses against an Aadhaar database in real-time. The committee met with the joint secretary of the Ministry

IAMIA touts Aadhaar potential, calls on UIDAI to initiate multi-stakeholder consultation

The Aadhaar system could transform India’s financial services industry, including banking, insurance, lending, and payments, by enabling paperless identification, according to a statement by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMIA). Biometric authentication may be the best way to empower India’s illiterate or semi-literate population, according to the statement, since language differences often make communication challenging. The IAMIA also says that using a paperless platform could reduce the costs of banking products by two to three percent, and of

Aadhaar should be linked to voting ID, commissioner says as Supreme Court hears constitutional challenge

Aadhaar numbers should be linked to Indian voter’s identity cards in order to verify individuals’ identity prior to voting, India’s new chief election commissioner told the Economic Times. “Biometrics should establish the identity before a voter enters a polling booth and gets access to an EVM (electronic voting machine),” commissioner Om Prakash Rawat said. “The identification will then be foolproof. I, however, don’t want any change in EVMs to integrate this feature. The EVM must remain a standalone machine with

UIDAI announces plans to add facial recognition to Aadhaar

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced the addition of facial recognition to the Aadhaar program to provide more authentication options for users. Aadhaar has previously implemented fingerprint and iris recognition, along with one-time passwords (OTP) for identity verification. UIDAI notes in a circular (PDF) that it is difficult for some users to use fingerprints or iris scans, and that many Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) have not deployed both modalities. The enrollment process for Aadhaar has included the

UIDAI adds tokens, temporary IDs to enhance Aadhaar privacy

The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced changes to the Aadhaar system including a 16-digit Virtual ID (VID) numbers which users can generate to temporarily validate their identity without sharing their Aadhaar number, along with limits to KYC and UID tokens, all of which is intended to enhance the system’s privacy and security, The Indian Express reports. The collection of Aadhaar numbers by various agencies will also be reduced. The VID will be “mapped with” the user’s Aadhaar

Snowden blames Aadhaar for destroying privacy of Indians

Edward Snowden has weighed in on the privacy implications of the Aadhaar program and its biometric database ahead of court hearings into its legality, which are slated to begin on January 17. Snowden tweeted support for Rachna Khaira, the Tribune journalist under investigation after reporting that a massive database of personal information from the Aadhaar program was being sold over the internet for roughly $8. The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. If the government

UIDAI denies reported major Aadhaar security breach

The Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has responded to a media report claiming that access to the entire Aadhaar database could be purchased for 500 rupees (roughly $8) by saying that no biometric data has been breached, The Indian Express reports. The Chandigarh-based Tribune media outlet claimed not only that it had purchased unrestricted access to details for any of the more than one billion Indian citizens from an anonymous WhatsApp user, but also that for an even smaller