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UIDAI defends Aadhaar authentication uptime as system passes 100B transactions

UIDAI defends Aadhaar authentication uptime as system passes 100B transactions
 

Server outages have struck India’s Aadhaar authentication system several times this year, preventing users from smoothly completing authentication processes for a cumulative period of 54 hours 33 minutes between January and September.

This is according to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in a Right to Information communication to The Hindu, the outlet reports.

Among the glitches noticed have been delays in sending SMS-based one-time passcodes to requestors as well as other minor forms of downtime.

Aadhaar authentication can be completed by using fingerprint authentication on a device or keying in passcodes sent by SMS to the users seeking different services such as the collection of food rations.

Reetika Khera, an economics professor, is quoted by The Hindu as blaming the situation on “UIDAI’s incompetence,” adding that ordinary service seekers are made to pay the heavy price as a result.

She also urged UIDAI to demonstrate some level of transparency by making public all information related to authentication issues noticed with its system on their website. For now, UIDAI is known to share such information only with authentication agencies.

In the wake of this information however, Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar says the situation represents “only 0.85 percent glitches and 99.15 percent of uptime.”

In a different report from The Hindu, Chandrasekhar is cited as saying that the few moments of downtime principally occurred while the Aadhaar system was being upgraded.

He mentioned that even during such moments, users could still access services as “other means of authentication were always available to authenticating agencies.”

More than 100 billion Aadhaar authentications are said to have been completed since the biometric digital ID was rolled out in January 2009, and the authentication use cases have been expanding over time.

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