India’s Supreme Court questions potential for Aadhaar data misuse

Representatives of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) have told the country’s Supreme Court that its databases cannot be used to influence elections in the way that data harvested from Facebook by Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have been, The Economic Times reports.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi told the court that the only information shared by UIDAI with requesting entities for authentication purposes are demographics and photos freely available on the internet. Biometric data is not shared, and its storage is not connected to the internet, he said.

Justice DY Chandrachud, a member of the five-judge panel hearing arguments regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the Aadhaar Act of 2016, told the court that the concerns are not imaginary, describing the manipulation of polls with individual data a threat to democracy itself.

“We don’t have the capacity to analyse data,” Dwivedi said in response. “We only authenticate that I am me.”
The UIDAI recently revealed during the hearings that Aadhaar’s rate of successful authentication has fallen to 88 percent.

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