Aadhaar a national danger?

Former Defence Officer says the data base has become an exploitation tool in the hands of corrupt

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | January 15, 2013



In India, when the National Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Bill, 2010, was presented to parliamentary standing committee on finance chaired by Yashwant Sinha it was called ill conceived, directionless and threat to national security.

Colonel Thomas, a former defense services officer and missile scientist was speaking at a seminar, “UID/Aadhaar: Medicine worst than disease”, organised by Money Life Foundation in Mumbai.

Thomas said that private foreign companies with links to intelligence agencies will have access to data. Explaining this he said that the contract for UID has been given to Satyam Mahindra and Morpho L1 ID Solutions, a company created after merger of two US companies- Visage and Identics.

Visage had contract for driving licences in Georgia, US. Due to defaults, the contract was terminated. Later when CIA and FBI took over and merged the companies into L1 Identity Solutions, it received many US government contracts. Later they merged it with a French company called Safran and while they still have operations in US, L1 Identity solutions is now called Morpho Trust.

Both Satyam Mahindra and Morpho Trust, the erstwhile L1 Identity Solutions, are subsidiaries of Safran, a company working on intelligence and biometrics in France. This company is now providing all biometric technology equipment to India. Against procurement norms, it has two subsidiaries competing for same product and secondly all data base of the country will be available to these foreign companies with links to intelligence agencies abroad. They are also providing same services to Nadra, a Pakistani National Identity Database.

Further pointing to perils of linking UID database to banks, he said the moment you link UIDAI database into your bank account you are introducing into transaction a third party (whom you cannot identify), i.e. the person who controls your database.

“If your account is hacked who do you complain to as the bank will not take responsibility. Unfortunately the draconian draft bill does not mention who will take up responsibility. In fact if the UID has not been used for three years the draft bill declares the person nonexistent,” he pointed.

Calling it a national danger, the former head of Missile Manufacturing Facilities at Defence Research Organization said, “Biometrics is fallible. Finger prints at best is corroborative evidence in court of law. There is a lobby at work that sells equipments and technology. All that has failed.”

“As database increases, the error rates increase exponentially. In fact UIDAI’s own biometrics standard committee has admitted that the error rates could be 15 percent. You can calculate this with 15 percent of India’s population. The control passed away from you to a system which is impersonal,” he said.

While demonstrating how finger prints can be faked, Jude D Souza, an expert on design and development of microprocessor based embedded electronic systems, explained how the machines are incapable of detecting the fundamental foundation of biometrics i.e. live detection. He showed how a Fevicol mould can be used for authentication.

“Finger prints can differ or vary due to ageing, cuts and bruises, skin ailments, environmental limitations, dry skin, water logged hands, device variations,” D Souza said.

Sucheta Dalal of Money life Foundation informed that across the country UID is being challenged in different courts. While Colonel Thomas has filed a case in Bangalore, a judge has filed a case in Delhi High Court. Another case filed against it in the Bombay High Court is to come up for hearing soon.

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