India reaches solution in biometric database row

01 February 2012

Posted by Samuel Couratin

Concerns regarding the security of information held on the biometric database being compiled nationally in India have been addressed.

Tensions between the Home Ministry and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have been addressed by the Indian Cabinet, which has announced a solution regarding the collection of data from citizens.

Under the agreement, the UIDAI will collect data from an additional 400 million people in India, creating a database of 600 million citizens, while the Home Ministry will also assume responsibility from collecting a similar volume of information through its parallel National Population Register.

"The solution ensures that most avoidable cost and duplication are avoided. A small area of duplication will remain but that is too small in a country of 1.2 billion," the Economic Times of India quotes P Chidambaram, the Home Minister, as stating.

Only the Aadhaar numbers created by the UIDAI will be issued to Indians, but both bodies will supply citizens with identity cards and data protection concerns relating to the collection and storage of personal details by the UIDAI will be addressed by the organization.

The move follows a recent report from the UIDAI stating that the "fusion" approach to biometrics - combining fingerprints and iris scans - has helped to boost accuracy and its systems have sufficient capacity to enroll the whole of India's 1.2 billion population.

Entitled 'The Role of Biometric technology in Aadhaar Enrollment', the recent UIDAI report confirms that the technology being used to gather data from across the country is 99.965 per cent accurate on duplicate detection.

"This lays to rest the fear that the use of biometric technology in the Indian context would be unreliable and flawed," the UIDAI states.

More than 100 million identification numbers had been issued by the body by December 31st 2011 to create one of the world's largest biometric databases.

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