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Indian government withdraws Aadhaar social media monitoring tender as brokerages await eKYC clarity

Indian government withdraws Aadhaar social media monitoring tender as brokerages await eKYC clarity

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has withdrawn a tender for monitoring social media chatter about Aadhaar and help it engage with the public to correct misconceptions, NDTV’s Gadgets 360 reports.

The UIDAI informed the Supreme Court of its decision, and told the court it will not refloat it in the future. The agency had been challenged by a lawmaker, who said the project, originally proposed in July, 2018, would violate digital privacy rights. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra called the contract “just another social media surveillance centre by another name,” in a petition to the court, according to the report.

The system was expected to monitor and track online conversations, and perform sentiment analysis, helping UIDAI gauge public sentiment and correct misconceptions.

Online brokerages are awaiting clarity on whether they are allowed to use Aadhaar to speed up client KYC checks during the onboarding process, the Business Standard reports.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has previously expressed support for the application following a government circular saying it was under consideration. Sebi issued its own circular in November, setting out a framework for using Aadhaar for eKYC processes through a KYC user agency (KUA), which would be registered with UIDAI. Businesses in the brokerage industry had been using eSign as an alternate form of Aadhaar authentication, until the service suddenly became unavailable to them last week, according to the Business Standard.

Industry representatives tell the Standard the onboarding process has slowed considerably since the Supreme Court ruling of 2018 blocked their use of Aadhaar.

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