#India – Identity crisis slows Aadhaar rollout #UID #biometrics


 

Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN | Jun 15, 2013, 03.55 AM IST

 

 

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Many residents, after waiting in long queues for biometric identification, have ended up with mistaken identities as their National Resident Identity Card (NRIC) – loosely called the ” Aadhaar” card – display the wrong data.

 

 

Blame it on the new software (Aadhaar version 2.2.1.0) which, while enrolling a resident into the system, would wrongly provide the name of his home district. Documents available with TOI reveal that several residents of Cossipore, Baghbazar, Shyambazar, Hatkhola, Beadon Street, Dum Dum, Ghugudanga, Alambazar, Baranagar, Belgachia, Motijheel, Bediapara and Noapara have been enrolled as living in Bankura. Strangely enough, the identification data displays Kolkata as a sub-district.

 

 

Residents of Bansdroni, who were enrolled as living in the sub-district of Budge Budge-1 and the district of South 24-Parganas, were one of the lucky few to have had the mistake rectified. Others have been given wrong pin-codes, even though most of the other relevant data is correct.

 

 

The mismatch of data has made collating impossible. Consequently, NPR programmes are being stalled in several areas. A ruckus erupted recently at Nurpur at Diamond Harbour, South 24-Parganas, when residents realized that the master data contained wrong inputs, sources said.

 

 

They said pin codes weren’t available at the Srifalberia mouja in the same district, and the enrolment camps had to be folded up. Trouble erupted in areas like Tollygunge and Diamond Harbour because even after verification, the errors could not be corrected as the new software has no provision for rectification. Once the enrolment is done, the census directorate, with help from local civic bodies, uplink the data and the unique identification number is generated and sent to individuals by post in the form of the Resident Identity Card (RIC).

 

 

Progress of biometric enrolment has been tardy in Bengal, which has long kicked off the process of collecting biometric imprints to create the NPR, with only about 22 per cent of the population of the 9.1 crore being covered. The pilot project for Howrah is over, but work in North Dinajpur, Bankura and Purulia is yet to commence.

 

 

Officials in the state census directorate, which is implementing NPR, revealed that the implementation of the “Aadhaar” card is likely to suffer a bigger jolt because of the flawed software. “Since an individual will be provided with his 12-digit unique identification only once in his lifetime, the mistakes should be corrected either in the second round of biometric identification or done centrally through the census directorate which functions directly under the aegis of the Register General of India (RGI),” a census directorate official said.

 

 

N S Nigam, district magistrate, South 24-Parganas, admitted to “some problems” in a few blocks. “The pin codes are different and the names of the district wrongly enrolled,” he said. Sanjay Bansal, DM of North 24-Parganas also said there were “issues related to pin codes”. State officials admit that the progress of NPR was “very slow” indeed.

 

 

P K Majumdar, acting director of census operations, said, “I am not authorized to speak to the media.” Calls to S K Chakraborty, deputy director general, Register General of India (RGI), went unanswered.

 

 

 

 

Army’s Fingerprint and Iris Databases Head for the Cloud #Biometrics #UID #Aadhaar


 

A soldier scans an Afghan’s eye for placement in the U.S. military’s large wartime biometrics databases, March 2012.Photo: U.S. Army

 

The next time U.S. soldiers snap a picture of your eye or scan your face, they’re likely to store all that personal, physical data in the cloud.

The Army’s Intelligence command recently awarded a sole-source contract to bring the classified Defense Cross-Domain Analytical Capability, a database storing various kinds of security-relevant information the Army collects, onto the proverbial “cloud” of distributed servers and networks. Among the focuses of the project: “integrating Biometrics into the cloud,” according to a description of the contract.

The effort “involves the Entity management and tracking system for Biometrics/Human Terrain Facial recognition capability (photos, video) and edge-to-Cloud Enterprise Messaging (Corps/Division Node to/from Handheld,” says the Army Intelligence and Security Command. “Human Terrain” refers to an Army program in Iraq and Afghanistan that sought to map unfamiliar tribal networks and other social structures. Integrating that into an intelligence database is a major shift, but more on that in a second.

Currently, at least some biometric data is stored locally in the warzone of Afghanistan, in or around where soldiers and marines on patrol take it from locals and insurgents. That limits troops’ ability to exploit it, particularly when they’re mobile: troops who detain a suspicious person in, say, Djibouti won’t necessarily know if he’s already been nabbed in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere. And supporting mobile operations is key to the whole cloud-storage project. “Mobile support in Cloud Corps Nodes includes provisioning the handhelds as data receivers and summarization of query results for handheld,” the Army command envisions.

 

But there are drawbacks to migrating the biometric data to the cloud. Among them, familiar to anyone who tries to get at their important GoogleDoc over an overtaxed wi-fi connection at Starbucks, is bandwidth. If it’s bad for you there, it’s much worse for soldiers in the middle of a warzone. “It’s an excellent opportunity when operating in environments like the NYPD can with their mobile biometric devices in all of 3G’s glory,” says a biometrics specialist who worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan, “but Tora Bora is another story. (Then there’s the expense of supporting and accessing the cloud-based database in a rugged warzone, the specialist adds: “Personally, I think bandwidth is going to cost more than humans.”)

Still, the military is into biometrics in a big way. It’s created and maintained biometrics databases containing literally millions of iris and fingerprint scans from Iraqis and Afghans. The Iraq database has outlasted the Iraq war: it resides permanently at U.S. Central Command in Tampa.

Evidently unsatisfied with the clunky ViewFinder-esque mobile tools for collecting biometric data in the field, in February the Pentagon inked a $3 million research deal with California’s AOptix to check out its smartphone-based biometric identifier, built on an iPhone and iOS. Then there’s all the Pentagon’s additional research into identifying people by the unique pungencies of their body odor and the ways they walk.

It’s worth noting that the architects of the Army’s star-crossed “human terrain” mapping, a much-criticized attempt at warzone anthropology, swore up and down that their interviews with tribal leaders had nothing to do with gathering intelligence. That distinction had much to do with the distaste many anthropologists had with working alongside the military, but architects Montgomery McFate and Steve Fondacaro said they weren’t spying because they weren’t part of the military’s “targeting cycle.”

“[G]iven the vast collection and reporting effort that supports lethal targeting, using HTS [the Human Terrain System] to fulfill this function would be redundant and duplicative,” they wrote in 2012. (.PDF) “Whereas [human intelligence] requires highly specific information about individuals in order to capture or kill, social science, as practiced in HTS, seeks broad contextual information for nonlethal purposes.”

Whatever McFate and Fondacaro’s intentions, folding biometric data from the Human Terrain System into an intelligence database collapses their distinction. Once that information enters the database, nothing stops analysts from marshaling it for potentially lethal military operations. That will have implications if the Army ever again tries to get into the social science business.

The obvious worry for any effort like this, aside from bandwidth, is going to be data security. Military cloud storage is still in its infancy — in 2009, the colonel in charge of the Defense Cross-domain Analytical Capability cautioned, “To a certain degree it’s cloud technology, but we are applying something that’s less bleeding-edge” — and many in uniform fear that they can’t adequately secure a cloud-based infrastructure. It’s a real concern in an age when Chinese cyber-espionage of U.S. military secrets runs deep. The unique physical characteristics of millions of people isn’t something you want to leave vulnerable.

Still, if the military can figure out how to lock down its cloud, the Army looks likely to start storing some of its most sensitive and difficult-to-replicate physical data onto it. The 12-month project kicks off in late August — giving the Army plenty of time to collect more facial, eye and fingerprint information before upload.

Noah Shachtman contributed reporting.

 

Source- http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/

#Aadhaar and the art of not-so-subtle persuasion #UID


 
ALOYSIUS XAVIER LOPEZ, The Hindu
 Residents have been anxiously queuing up to complete biometric verification — Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
Many seem convinced the scheme is compulsory
A couple of days ago, Lavanya Mohan’s tweet on being ‘sent back in line’ for not wearing a dupatta while trying to get her picture taken for the Aadhaar number raised a storm on Twitter.
Users of the social networking site responded with anger and scorn over what they termed ‘moral policing.’ However, this does not seem to have adversely affected the process of verification at all. In fact, according to a Corporation official, the number of residents thronging offices in West Mambalam, where the incident occurred, has only increased since the controversy. This only reflects the fact that many think the scheme is compulsory.
Long queues of those anxious to complete biometric verification are a common sight everywhere. This is unsurprising as the word Aadhaar seems ubiquitous these days. It stares at you everywhere, from ATMs to civic body offices. The website of Unique Identification Authority of India, which issues the 12-digit individual identification number that is Aadhaar, says it is not mandatory. However, most people seem to believe otherwise.
“Residents are scared that they may even lose citizenship if they do not have Aadhaar number,” said N. Baskaran, a Corporation councillor in Saidapet. “Everyday at 5 a.m., people queue up at the ward office to get tokens. As biometric data is collected only from 30 people in a day, many of them return disappointed. Repeated failure causes panic,” S. Elumalai, a resident of T. Nagar.
Incidentally, the statement of the Minister of Planning in the Lok Sabha on December 2, 2009 clearly says that “Enrolment will not be mandated. The UID number will prove identity, not citizenship.”
Many citizens cited the notices at ATMs as the reason for the urgency. These notices ask residents to link the Aadhaar/UID number with their accounts to get “benefits of government subsidies.” The banks however deny having persuaded customers to link Aadhaar with their accounts.
The fervour seems to have penetrated the higher echelons of the city establishment too. Recently, the councillor of ward 129 staged a road blockade protesting the delay in issuing Aadhaar. Collection of biometric data is on at Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru.Vi.Ka. Nagar, Anna Nagar, Teynampet and Kodambakkam zones. Work in Adyar zone will start soon.
“Six lakh residents have been covered by biometric identification under NPR in Chennai. All of them will get Aadhaar numbers automatically in 30 days,” said M.R.V. Krishna Rao, Joint Director, Census Department.
However, some experts were very critical of the process. “Aadhaar is farcical. It has no legal sanction. This is autocratic. It is just an IT business opportunity for a few,” said M.G. Devasahayam, a former IAS officer. “The government is enrolling all residents. But we have not discussed it in Parliament,” he added.
Keywords: Aadhaar, moral policing, biometric verification, Unique Identification

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Biometrics programs for the developing world could put data in the wrong hands #Aadhaar #UID


Privacy for the Other 5 Billion

Western-backed biometrics programs for the developing world could put data in the wrong hands.

By  and 

Posted Friday, May 17, 2013, at 11:51 AM

An Indian villager looks at an iris scanner during the data collecting process for a pilot project of The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the village of Chellur, some 145kms north-west of Bangalore on April 22, 2010.

An Indian villager looks at an iris scanner for a pilot project of the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, in the village of Chellur, northwest of Bangalore, on April 22, 2010.Photo by Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

Move over, mobile phones. There’s a new technological fix for poverty: biometric identification. Speaking at the World Bank on April 24, Nandan Nilekani, director of India’s universal identification scheme, promised that the project will be “transformational.” It “uses the most sophisticated technology … to solve the most basic of development challenges.” The massive ambition, known as Aadhaar, aims to capture fingerprints, photographs, and iris scans of 1.2 billion residents, with the assumption that a national identification program will be a key ingredient to “empower poor and underprivileged residents.” The World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, effusively summed up the promise as “just stunning.”

Although few can match Nilekani’s grand scale, Aadhaar is but one example of the development sector’s growing fascination with technologies for registering, identifying, and monitoring citizens. Systems that would be controversial—if not outright rejected—in the West because of the threat they pose to civil liberties are being implemented in many developing countries, often with the support of Western donors. The twin goals of development and security are being used to justify a bewildering array of initiatives, including British-funded biometric voting technology in Sierra Leone, U.N. surveillance drones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and biometric border controls in Ghana supported by the World Bank.

This vigorous adoption of technologies for collecting, processing, tracking, profiling, and managing personal data—in short, surveillance technologies—risks centralizing an increasing amount of power in the hands of government authorities, often in places where democratic safeguards and civil society watchdogs are limited. While these initiatives may be justified in certain cases, rarely are they subject to a rigorous assessment of their effects on civil liberties or political dissent. On the contrary, they often seek to exploit the lack of scrutiny: Nilekani recommended in another recent speech that biometric proponents work “quickly and quietly” before opposition can form. The sensitivity of the information gathered in aid programs is not lost on intelligence agencies: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti recently revealed that the Pentagon funded a food aid program in Somalia for the express purpose of gathering details on the local population. Even legitimate aid programs now maintain massive databases of personal information, from household names and locations to biometric information.

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Humanitarian organizations, development funders, and governments have a responsibility to critically assess these new forms of surveillance, consult widely, and implement safeguards such as data protection, judicial oversight, and the highest levels of security. In much of the world, these sorts of precautions are sorely lacking: For example, despite the success of information technology in Africa, only 10 countries on the continent have some form of data protection law on the books (and even those rarely have the capacity or will to enforce them).

Kenya is a good example of how these programs can go wrong. In the country’s recent election, a costly biometric voting scheme flopped, adding widespread uncertainty to an already fragile situation. The problems were manifold, from biometric scanners that couldn’t recognize thumbprints to batteries that failed and servers that crashed. As journalist Michela Wrong put it, “almost none of it worked.” With limited resources, why support expensive and often ineffective technologies like biometric voting when traditional systems often suffice? While biometrics could help clean up electoral rolls, they may very well serve to obfuscate the electoral process, as information is passed through proprietary applications and technologies, closed to public scrutiny and audit.

But the worries in Kenya extend beyond technological failure. Like many low-income countries, Kenya has historically lacked a robust program of birth registration, making public health work notoriously difficult. It also stymies the provision of education services and cash transfers to vulnerable populations. To rectify this, the Kenyan state has sought to enroll all adults in a biometric national identification scheme that aims to interoperate with various other databases, including the tax authority, financial institutions, and social security programs. According to the director of this Integrated Population Registration System, George Anyango, the government now has “the 360 degree view of any citizen above the age of 18 years.” The Orwellian language is particularly worrisome given Kenya’s lack of data protection requirements and history of political factionalism, including the ethnic violence in the aftermath of the 2007 election that resulted in the death of more than 1,000 Kenyans.

The Aadhaar project in India—a country with a history of ethnic unrest and social segregation, widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, and with no effective legislative protection of privacy—should raise similar, magnified fears. Furthermore, it’s doubtful the program could help bring about the social equality it promises. Proponents of these state registration schemes argue that a lack of ID is a key reason why the poor remain marginalized, but they risk misdiagnosing the symptom for the cause. The poor are marginalized not simply because they lack an ID, but rather because of a complex history of discriminatory political, economic, and social structures. In some cases a biometric identity scheme may alter those, but only if coupled with broader, more difficult reforms.

One of Aadhaar’s biggest promises is the opportunity to open bank accounts (which require identification). Yet, poor, marginalized Indians, even with an ID, find formal banks to be unfriendly and difficult to join. For example, the anthropologist Ursula Rao foundthat the homeless in India—even after registering for Aadhaar—were blocked from banking, most frequently for lack of proper addresses, but more fundamentally because, as she notes, biometric identification “cannot establish trust, teach the logic of banking, or provide incentives for investing in the formal economy.” Bank managers remain suspicious and exclusionary, even if an identity project is inclusive. Without broader reforms—including rules for who may or may not access identity details—novel identification infrastructures will become tools of age-old discrimination.

Another, more practical drawback is that biometric technology is particularly ill-suited for individuals who have spent years in manual labor, working in tough conditions where their fingerprints wear down or they may even lose full fingers or limbs. Even with small authentication error rates—say, the 1.7 percent that recent estimates from Aadhaar suggest—the number of failures in a population the size of India’s can be enormous. Aadhaar has already enrolled 240 million people, with plans to reach all residents. You do the math.

The growth of these systems is due in part to the lack of public education and consultation, as well as the paucity of technical expertise to advise on the risks and pitfalls of surveillance technologies. But certainly the international donors and humanitarian organizations that support these initiatives have a responsibility to critically assess and build in safeguards for these technologies. Given the enormity of the challenge facing these organizations, it is perhaps easy not to prioritize issues like privacy and security of personal data, but the same arguments were once made against gender considerations and environmental protections in development. Aid programs that involve databases of personal information—especially of those most vulnerable and marginalized—must adopt stringent policies and practices relating to the collection, use, and sharing of that data. Best practices should include privacy impact assessments and consider the scope for “privacy by design” methodologies.

As the rhetoric around Aadhaar makes clear, the promise of a quick technical solution to intractable social problems is alive and well. However, it is time to recognize that human development involves the protection of civil liberties and individual freedoms, and not blindly rush into the creation of surveillance states in the name of development and poverty alleviation. Donors and aid organizations need to remember that the other 5 billion deserve privacy, too.

 

SOURCE- slate.ocm

Andhra Pradesh -Biometric information of 14 lakh #Aadhaar applicants goes missing #UID


 | May 1, 2013 | Postnoon

Beware!-Vital-info-missing-3

Biometric information from over 14 lakh people has gone missing. This could lead to vital data falling into criminal hands.

What can be a greater loss to a city than the loss of identities of its citizens? While the Aadhaar card, projected as a “smart mix of politics and economics,” promises to deliver the “one ultimate identity” to all the citizens of India, its progress report in Andhra Pradesh has no reassuring remarks.

Forget ultimate identity, there seems to be no guarantee of our identities anymore.

On April 8, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) publicly agreed that several lakh Aadhaar enrolments and data were lost. What is described as a “technical error” is in reality the loss of biometrics and personal information of 14 lakh Aadhaar card-seeking citizens of Andhra Pradesh.

Over two lakh citizens in Hyderabad have not found their Aadhaar enrolments online. Fearing public backlash, the UIDAI authorities were able to retrieve over seven lakh enrolments through data retrieval, but have been unable to retrieve the other half. Postnoon investigates.

Current Enrolment Status

Even as the deadline for Aadhaar-c link gets closer, there seems to be little or no co-ordination among any of the three major players — the AP civil supplies and district collectorate, private enrolment agencies and the UIDAI — in the Aadhaar game.

“The selling point of this project was the promise of transparency and accountability. Except for the UIDAI’s website, our State government’s civil supplies or district

collectorates do not seem to have found the need to be accountable,” says Raoji Brahmanand, RTI activist and Aadhaar applicant.

The official explanation for the data loss is that private enrolment agencies had employed agents who developed differences over their remuneration and left the project mid way. Some claim that laptops and equipment containing data also went missing.

“But since high encryptions guard the enrolment data and biometrics, it cannot be decrypted. We are trying to retrieve the data currently,” says an official from UIDAI.

According to data gathered by Postnoon from UIDAI and district collectorate authorities, the current population of the City stands at roughly 82 lakh. Out of this, only 53,28,183 have enrolled for Aadhaar and a little over 30 lakh UID numbers have been generated.

Ask why this slow pace of enrolments and loss of data, S Vijaypal, deputy district collector of Hyderabad collectorate says, “No idea. We are only forwarding whatever enrolment data we receive to the State government and UIDAI.”

The morale among officials handling the Aadhaar project is low and it is evident why.

Here are the current statistics of the Aadhaar project in Hyderabad:

Beware!-Vital-info-missing-2

Beware!-Vital-info-missing-1Beware!-Vital-info-missing

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#India – Why is #Aadhaar being shoved down our throats? #UID


 

Why is Aadhaar being shoved down our throats?

 

At Tembhli village in Nandurbar district, a day before the launch of the UID in 2010.The village received the first numbers under the project.

At Tembhli village in Nandurbar district, a day before the launch of the UID in 2010.The village received the first numbers under the project.

by  Apr 15, 2013

 

Electoral logic is driving the UPA towards a patent illegality: forcing people to part with sensitive private information such as biometric data or finger-prints without having any law to protect privacy in place.

As things stand, getting yourself an Aadhaar card issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is voluntary; you are not legally bound to part with this information to anyone, leave alone the UIDAI. A report in The Times of India today also flags off privacy concerns and emphasises that citizens are essentially being “coerced” to get themselves an Aadhaar number.

Is Aadhaar effective? Image courtesy UIDAI

Is Aadhaar effective? Image courtesy UIDAI

 

At last count, nearly 320 million Indian residents have been enrolled under Aadhaar – and all of it despite a warning from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance which wanted the scheme shut down.

Driven by its own electoral compulsions, the Centre is pushing states to make Aadhaar the norm for every kind of entitlement so that it can proceed with its direct cash transfers (DCT) scheme before the next elections. Aadhaar is supposed to provide foolproof identification of subsidy beneficiaries and weed out duplications and bogus entries.

The UPA thinks DCT is a vote-winner and a game-changer. This is why late last year the Congress announced that scheme would cover the whole country by the end of 2013 after starting out with only a few schemes in 51 districts.

To convert Aadhaar into a voter ATM scheme, you need to roll it out really fast, since elections could happen either later this year or in April-May next year. To make sure that cash is given out to people using Aadhaar, you need bank accounts to be linked to this ID number, and also marry it with data from the ministries advocating these schemes.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has already announced that cooking gas (LPG) subsidy is next on the list for coverage under Aadhaar and direct cash transfers, but the linkage to bank accounts is taking time. Banks, in fact, are not chary of depending too much on Aadhaar, and The Economic Times today reports that if money is transferred on the basis of this identification, anything going wrong should be the UIDAI’s responsibility.

Why this tearing hurry?

Cooking gas subsidy is a big ticket DCT initiative because of the amounts involved: subsidies amount to Rs 430-440 per cylinder at current international crude prices. Since each family is entitled to nine subsidised cylinders a year, a shift to DCT would mean putting nearly Rs 4,000 into the bank accounts of beneficiaries annually.

While the political advantages of giving money to voters in the name of economic efficiency is understandable, the UPA has completely lost sight of one simple thing: there is currently no legislation in place to make the Aadhaar scheme’s collection of private biometric data legal; even though the scheme is being promoted through administrative fiat, the fact that so much personal data will be obtained using private agents is giving privacy advocates sleepless nights.

In fact, there is a good reason to stop Aadhaar in its tracks—it is already supposed to have covered 320 million residents—before the project is put on a legal footing. Reason: there is simply no protection if your biometric data falls in the wrong hands and your ID has been commandeered by someone else.

A public interest litigation in the Supreme Court has challenged the constitutional validity of the UIDAI headed by former Infosys scion Nandan Nilekani. As Firstpost reported earlier, the petition alleges that “There is no regulatory mechanism to ensure that the data collected is not tampered with or remains secure. When there is no legislation, there is no offence in parting with this information. And when there is no offence, there can be security issues.”

Ankit Goel, one of the lawyers for the PIL, has gone on record to say that “the state is asking for biometrics of an individual. The mere asking of biometric data is encroaching into someone’s privacy. It is tantamount to phone tapping. Whereas in phone tapping there is legislation, there is no legislation here… In the absence of a law passed by Parliament there can’t be any collection of private information. This is against the law laid down by the Supreme Court.”

The parliamentary standing committee on finance headed by Yashwant Sinha, which looked at the National Identification Authority Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha, also came to the same conclusion: “Despite the presence of serious differences of opinion within the government on the UID scheme…the scheme continues to be implemented in an overbearing manner without regard to legalities and other social consequences.”

The committee rejected the bill, and Mint last December quoted Gurudas Dasgupta, MP, as saying that there was no need for it: “We found that the project is not necessary as there are many other ways of identification such as BPL (below the poverty line) card, voter identification card, etc. There is no merit in the project, it is just a wastage of government money.”

The point is this: isn’t it downright irresponsible for the UPA government to ask citizens to share vital personal information when there is such little political support for it and when there is no guarantee of how the information will be protected?

 

 

Shame! Andhra Pradesh in the eye of the #Aadhaar card scam #UID


 | March 23, 2013

AP-leads-in-Aadhaar-fraud-postnoon-news

A clause meant to ensure no one was left out of Aadhaar has become the keystone of a major scam.

Trust us to spin a scam out of anything. One more blotched job on Aadhaar card Abhiyan has come out. Putting a big question mark on its credibility, the Lok Sabha on Thursday was informed that gross misuse of the Biometric Exemption Clause by Aadhaar enrolment officers at the national level had forced the UIDAI to cancel 3,84,237 cards. This means an unspecified sum has found its way to private pockets. Earlier, several complaints regarding Aadhaar card had been reported. AP is on top with the highest number of this scandal.

What is biometric exemption clause?

When performing a biometric scan, the details of a set of physical aspects of the applicant are taken into record — fingerprints, iris scans, facial features, etc. This, however, is exempted in rare cases for people with physical disabilities and whose professions (commercial labourers, miners) make it difficult to record biometrics. As an alternative, photographic records of their absent biometrics (damaged irises, absent fingers, smoothened fingers with no record of prints) are recorded along with demographic details of the applicant. This system of inclusion, absent among other civil supply cards like the ration card, was what the government believed to be a “fool proof” inclusion of all sections of the public — until things went wrong, that is.

What went wrong and how?

After nearly 50,000 Aadhaar cards remained undelivered, authorities at the UIDAI got suspicious. All of them turned out to be cards granted under the Biometric Exemption Clause. Investigations by the UIDAI revealed that Andhra Pradesh alone contributed to the highest number of fake cards, with 2.3 lakh out of the total 4.1 lakh generated here under this scheme. AP had recorded a total 48.8 lakh registrations for the Aadhaar card last year.

Some agencies entrusted with the enrolment centres realised that they could ‘grant exemption’ for any applicant at a nominal price. In Hyderabad alone, the price varied from `50 to `200. Enrolment officers played a game for this and made a pile.

One Aadhaar card enrolment officer from Warangal, on condition of anonymity, said it was a fast and cheap way of making money. “Some people who did not want their biometrics would approach us with a deal. We would slot them under the biometric exemption category and exclude their biometrics from being recorded. This could be photographically manipulated. We received money in return for the business,” he said. Shortly after the regional UIDAI realised that something was wrong, this enrolment officer was relieved of his duties and the cards issued from his office were cancelled.

Aftermath

Shortly after the lid blew off this scam, the government hastened to cancel these enrolments and made amendments to its policy, but it was too late. Other such instances were reported in Jharkhand, UP, Maharashtra as well. It was found that only 22,195 of the total 4.1 lakh Aadhaar cards generated under this clause were genuine. Another 7,000 registrations came under investigation.The UIDAI instructed all enrolment agencies not to grant biometric exemption without prior permission of a senior officer, preferably a government official. But then, the truth is, that too can be managed. Officials from the regional office of UIDAI, Hyderabad were unavailable for comment.

But as an RTI activist says, it’s an irony that the scheme implemented for removing corruption, was in itself, flawed and even corrupt. Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu says, “The whole Aadhaar is a farce. It was implemented without any proper study on the reliability of technology. There is corruption in a scheme that is supposed to eliminate corruption from other schemes.”

 

 

#India- Biometric Marginality #UID #Aadhaar #homeless #migrants


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Vol – XLVIII No. 13, March 30, 2013 | Ursula Rao Review of Urban Affairs Review Issues

 

 

 

 

Debates on India‘s Unique Identification Number project have so far been based on the analysis of economic data, emerging legal frameworks, policy procedure, and technology. This paper shifts the focus to examine the implementation of the UID project in sites of urban marginality. A study of homeless citizens demonstrates that the usages of UID have not shifted the goalposts but are developing along the lines of established citizen-state relationships in both the empowering and excluding dimensions of the UID. To capture the social impact of UID, debates must move beyond the notion that the transformative potential rests in technology or abstract policy and study the ways it is made available to people in their everyday life.

 

 

 

 

#Aadhaar applications abandoned on roadside #UID #WTFnews


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 Story Dated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:45 hrs IST

 

 

Kasaragod: Around 2000 applications for Aadhaar, the individual identity card by Govt of India, were found abandoned on roadside. Documents including photo copies of necessary identity proofs for applying Aadhaar were found on the way side at Melpparambu for last two days.

The applications were submitted at the Akshaya Centres, which were entrusted for facilitating the Aadhaar service delivery, in Keezhur, Madhur and Chemmnad.

The government earlier made clear that all benefits including subsidies would be made available to the public through the identity cards. Therefore a large number of people applied for the card.

As many of the applications including that of the students were thrown away in roadside and nobody has come in search of the applications so far, the struggle of common people to obtain the card will continue in large scale.

 

 

About 4 lakh #Aadhaar cards cancelled #UID


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PIB RELEASE- MARCH 20, 2013

Cancellation of Aadhar cards under Biometric Exception clause

As on date, 384237 Aadhar numbers have been cancelled under Biometric exception clause. In keeping with UIDAI’s commitment to achieve zero failure to enroll, the enrolement client application has the provision to enroll persons with biometric exceptions. It was however noticed that this provision was misused by some operators to enroll residents who are not falling in the category of biometric exceptions. A scrutiny of all biometric exception enrolments was necessitated and this has led to the cancellation of 384237 Aadhar numbers.

This information was given by Shri Rajiv Shukla, the Minister of state for Parliamentary affairs and Planning, in written reply to a question in the Loksabha today.