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UIDAI tells court Aadhaar biometric matching not set up for identifying unknown people


Aadhaar fingerprint biometrics cannot be used to identify deceased individuals because the system is designed to authenticate identities on a 1:1 basis by using the subject’s Aadhaar number to acquire the template to match to, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has told Delhi’s Hight Court.

The Hindu reports that the court directed the UIDAI to provide technical details for why it could not use a subject’s fingerprints to identify them using the Aadhaar database, as it hears a petition filed by activist Amit Sahni, who is seeking a way to return unidentified bodies to their families, and possible identify missing persons. A lawyer for the UIDAI also said that scanning only a singe fingerprint could yield multiple matches, and that a certain match could require prints from all fingers plus an iris scan.

The National Crime Records Bureau, which Sahni’s petition also seeks to compel cooperation from, is slated to state its position in February. The petition, which seeks to establish special courts to clear a back-log of unidentified bodies, represents one of the few cases in which an advocate has attempted to broaden Aadhaar’s biometric program beyond the scope of the Aadhaar act, parts of which have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

India’s Supreme Court previously ruled that it could not hear the same petition until the Delhi court issues its ruling.

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