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India introduces data sharing revocation amid biometrics adoption surge

Idemia exec reflects on biometrics boost to governance
India introduces data sharing revocation amid biometrics adoption surge

The role of digitalization and biometrics in facilitating governance and public service delivery in a country as vast and diverse as India has once again earned the spotlight.

It is the quintessence of a write-up by Idemia’s Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sales for Smart Biometrics Alok Tiwari, published by Economic Times of India. He opines that the building of digital public infrastructure has been at the forefront of India’s socio-economic growth despite challenges brought about by various factors including the country’s geography and demography.

India’s DPI growth has been an inspiration for many countries, with a report early this year projecting that the infrastructure could enable the country become a trillion-dollar digital economy by the year 2030.

At the same time, governance of the use of biometrics and other personal data is maturing. Keshav Reddy, founder of Indian tech company Equal Identity Private, said during the recent Mint Digital Innovation Summit that the ability of consumers to revoke data sharing consent afforded by India’s Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act will become the norm.

“The biggest innovation of this decade is the DPI (digital public infrastructure),” Reddy says.

The Idemia executive takes a look at some of the reasons for the strong adoption of biometrics in India and how the technology has significantly influenced the country’s economic growth trajectory.

Aadhaar — which significantly drove social and financial inclusion among Indians – popularized biometric authentication for access to public services, Tiwari says. He believes biometrics have “fundamentally altered how administrative processes operate and deliver public services in India, reflecting the government’s practical commitment to creating an inclusive and efficient governance framework for its diverse population.”

Tiwari looks at how India’s public institutions have over the years taken steps to move away from traditional or analogue processes to digital systems including for aspects such as biometric attendance monitoring in schools and public offices across many states.

Financial inclusion, improved monitoring and accountability in government institutions, as well as law enforcement and security operations are the other areas in which biometrics integration has proven vital for India, Tiwari argues.

With an already impressive balance sheet, the official however holds that the adoption of biometrics by state governments in India is going to continue in line with the constant changes in the world of technology. Cognizant of this, he recommends that attention be paid to issues of data privacy and security so as to ensure that the deployment of such cutting-edge technologies do not undermine fundamental human rights. Hence the importance of India’s DPDP Act including a mechanism for individuals to revoke data sharing consent.

Users can revoke data sharing consent under India’s DPDP Act

In an India-related development, the founder of ID verification firm Equal Identity Private, Keshav Reddy, says it is possible to revoke consent already given for sharing one’s personal data under India’s DPDP Act 2023.

Reddy disclosed this information recently while speaking at the Mint Digital Innovation Summit 2024, Live Mint reports. He said his firm was already complying with the provisions of Act in this regard. He also spoke about the India Stack saying it can be relied upon by private companies to build different products.

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