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Biometric data of 300,000 Aadhaar applicants lost in Maharashtra

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Confirming the worst fear of those already untrusting of national biometric systems, the Maharashtra government has lost the biometric data of about 300,000 Aadhaar applicants in India.

Reported by the Times of India, the data was being uploaded by the state information technology department from Mumbai to the central Bangalore server of the UIDAI when it was lost.

“The information in encrypted when uploaded,” an official from the state IT department was quoted as saying. “While the transmission was in progress, the hard disk with the data crashed. When the data was downloaded in Bangalore, it could not be decrypted.”

Those whose biometric data was lost during the ill-fated upload process now must go through the lengthy process of reapplication.

Data loss is a major problem for a program like Aadhaar, which hinges on the responsible treatment and management of biometric data. Without the public’s trust, it will be increasingly difficult for the Aadhaar program to continue to grow.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, last year, 384,000 bogus Aadhaar numbers were discovered, having been fraudulently registered under the program’s “biometric exception clause.”

Speaking to a Washington audience this week, Chairman of the UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani said that nearly half of India’s population would have the Aadhaar card by 2014 and nearly one-third would have an Aadhaar card by the end of the year.

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