“Aadhaar Doesn’t Certify Identity, Biometric Data Stored Not Unique”: UIDAI In RTI Reply
February 11th, 2018
In response to an RTI request, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) says it does not have any method to certify the identity, address, date of birth, residential status or existence of any individual or any Aadhaar number, The Sunday Guardian reported.
The statutory body also reportedly said that the biometric data of an individual does not pull up a unique record, nullifying the unique nature of biometric data in the first place and putting to doubt the UIDAI’s goal of providing a “unique” identity to every individual with an Aadhaar card.
What the RTI revealed
The UIDAI’s response was to an RTI filed by Anupam Saraph, a social activist. Dr Saraph was the CIO of Pune and an advisor to the Goa government
In his RTI, Dr Saraph had asked for the names and designations of the UIDAI officials who certify the identity, address, date of birth and other details of an individual.
In its reply, the UIDAI said that “no such role is assigned to UIDAI officials”.
The UIDAI also has no inkling regarding the identification documents used to assign an Aadhaar number to enrolment packets submitted by enrolment agencies.
Oh there’s more: They also refused to reveal details of the enrollment agencies (pvt contractors) they’ve hired.
They cannot guarantee whether these pvt players have used legit docs to enroll people either.
Then what does the UIDAI guarantee exactly?
— Meghnad (@Memeghnad) February 11, 2018
Dr Saraph argues that this has serious implications on the uniqueness and security of the entire Aadhaar database.
In a recent panel discussion, he said, “Nobody from UIDAI certifies Aadhaar. Identification and authentication are different and UIDAI has no definition on either of this, as per the reply I received under the RTI.” (More on this RTI here.)
In the past year, Aadhaar’s scope has been greatly expanded, with the government pushing for it to be mandated for availing welfare programs and official programs.
Primarily because of this reason, the Aadhaar programme has seen the Supreme Court and the government being at odds with each other. The SC has repeatedly rejected any push to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes. The issue of Aadhaar’s legality is now pending before the apex court.
The rising significance of Aadhaar has also been accompanied by rising concerns over privacy issues and the potential for abuse and data breaches.