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Fingerprints all over India as states add experts and police seek Aadhaar biometrics

Fingerprints all over India as states add experts and police seek Aadhaar biometrics

The fingerprint unit of Haryana’s state crime records bureau (SRCB), which provides biometric verification and analysis for fingerprints collected at crime scenes, is seeing an overhaul, according to a report in the Times of India.

The deployment of fingerprint experts to district offices and mobile forensic units is part of a strategy to maximize the collection of so-called “chance prints” (otherwise known as latent prints) at crime scenes. Verification and analysis will be run through the National Crime Records Bureau’s national automated fingerprint identification system (NAFIS), for an effort the Times calls unprecedented in its scale and integration.

The SCRB has also launched refresher courses for police to hone their fingerprint-lifting skills, and tabled a proposal to offer incentives to applicants to the fingerprint division.

Haryana police were early adopters of innovative biometric fingerprint systems.

Aadhaar Act says no sharing of biometrics for law enforcement

A court case in Kerala will determine whether an officer can access Aadhaar fingerprint data to attempt a match with fingerprints he collected, in a last-ditch effort to identify the perpetrator of a crime, according to a report from Medianama.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) turned down the officer’s initial request on the grounds of Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act, which requires a court order for the disclosure of data, and Section 29, which states that an Aadhaar holder’s core biometric information cannot be used for any purpose, including law enforcement, other than generating an Aadhaar number or for authentication. The officer’s plea to the courts seeks to overrule this.

A successful appeal will have ramifications for a law enforcement system that has repeatedly sought to access Aadhaar fingerprint data for investigations despite a clear prohibition, and on the millions of citizens who use fingerprint biometrics to fuel billions of monthly authentication transactions on the national digital identity platform.

Aadhaar has been subject to fingerprint fraud via cloned fingerprints and silicon fakes. This year, UIDAI has applied two-step verification and liveness detection to try and plug the holes.

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