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Digital ID and KYC coming for remote voting in India, Aadhaar biometrics use continues to expand

Digital ID and KYC coming for remote voting in India, Aadhaar biometrics use continues to expand

India’s Electoral Commission says it will begin issuing digital ID for voters and accept digital KYC processes on the National Voters’ Services Portal, likely based on Aadhaar, MediaNama reports.

The publication suggests that the changes could result in a requirement for Electoral Photo ID Cards (EPICs) to be linked to Aadhaar, the publication suggests.

The National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) operated by the EC has been cross-checking EPICs against Aadhaar since 2015, which has reportedly resulted in hundreds of thousand of voters being removed from the registry in 2019.

The Electoral Commission suggested last year that an eKYC platform would be created, and the government stated intentions to amend the Representation of People Act to enable it.

MediaNama warns of a looming risk of voters without Aadhaar being disenfranchised.

The EC is also planning trials for a remote biometric voting system, according to Business Standard News, and says they will begin soon.

The system involves white-listed IP devices on dedicated internet lines, transmitting data from biometric devices with web cameras. Votes will be recorded on a blockchain. The system will be set up at designated venues for those wishing to vote remotely, and operate during a predetermined time period.

“When the vote is cast, the ballot will be securely encrypted and a blockchain hashtag generated. This hashtag notification will be sent to various stakeholders, in this case the candidates and political parties,” former Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said, according to Business Standard.

The system will allow for Indians residing outside their home state to cast ballots in local and state races.

Aadhaar to be required for social benefits in Telangana

Beneficiaries of several government social security programs in Telangana will soon be required to access their benefits through iris biometrics or one-time password (OTP) authentication as of February 1, The Hindu writes. The change is being made to replace the largely fingerprint-based biometric system put into place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials with the Civil Supplies Department are urging benefits cardholders in Hyderabad and the neighboring Rangy Reddy districts to link their Aadhaar accounts with their mobile phone numbers to enable OTP authentication for benefits issuance, as iris recognition devices are not available in the area. There are 670 fair price shops that will only offer social benefits through OTP from February 1, according to the report.

Bank demands customers’ Aadhaar for some services

HDFC Bank has made Aadhaar and fingerprint biometric registration mandatory for certain services, The New Indian Express reports, despite the Reserve Bank of India saying it has not issued any mandate to that affect.

The publication suggests the move flouts the Supreme Court ruling that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for private sector services.

HDFC has told customers that their email addresses and mobile phone numbers, which are being used much more frequently for account access due to pandemic restrictions and health mandates, cannot be updated without submitting an Aadhaar number and performing biometric identity verification.

The RBI requires text alerts be sent by banks to customers when transactions are made from their saving and credit card accounts.

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