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Biometric IDs For Every Indian Citizen 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-card-to-rule-them dept.
wiedzmin writes "This month, officials from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), armed with fingerprinting machines, iris scanners and cameras hooked to laptops, will fan out across the towns and villages of southern Andhra Pradesh state in the first phase of the project whose aim is to give every Indian a lifelong Unique ID (UID) number for 'anytime, anywhere' biometric authentication. While enrolling with the UIDAI may be voluntary, other agencies and service providers might require a UID number in order to transact business. Usha Ramanathan, a prominent legal expert who is attached to the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in the national capital, said that, 'taken to its logical limit, the UID project will make it impossible, in a couple of years, for an ordinary citizen to undertake a simple task such as traveling within the country without a UID number.' Next step, tying that UID number and biometric information to to their RIM BlackBerry PIN number."
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Biometric IDs For Every Indian Citizen

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's what it basically is in other countries. What is the news here? That India only started the practice now?

    • by morari (1080535) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:13PM (#33516280) Journal

      The difference seems to be that this number is tied to a fingerprint, iris scan, and facial photograph. That's a lot scarier than my social security number currently is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cosm (1072588)

        The difference seems to be that this number is tied to a fingerprint, iris scan, and facial photograph. That's a lot scarier than my social security number currently is.

        A) Not trolling. Mods, get your shit together. This [slashdot.org] is trolling (NSFW).

        B) Reply is correct in that, yes, a difference exist; the country is requiring biometric information for unique identification. Although some could argue picture, birth cert. etc for a SSN card are similar, this is one step further. The summary (FTA) makes the point that if this UID become a ubiquitous requirement, well, your biometric identity will be stored by the government. This could be a good thing. It could be bad. Who knows. I

        • Mods, get your shit together.

          This looks like an innocent fuck up. Mods are human and the occasional human might be distracted by chaos in the world, relationship problems, and a quart of tequila. So say sweet dreams to this fellow now resting an unconscious head on a keyboard collecting drool.

          • I post to undo my bad mods (and even sacrifice my 14 points already-used). Just sayin'.
            • Actually, before Slashdot going Ajax, a moderation would only happen after you pressed the moderate button. That way, if you happened to mis-click on moderation, you could immediately correct it. Nowadays your moderation goes life immediately. No chance to correct your mistake (except for the "nuclear" post-to-undo option).

      • by T Murphy (1054674)
        Except in India I doubt they could get a SSN system to work- with biometric identification no one needs to memorize numbers or keep them written down somewhere (or be able to write for that matter). You also have an easier time being sure someone is who they say they are (compared to how a lot of places in America take mother's maiden name plus SSN, which nowhere near secure or reliable). Yes, there are a lot of bad things that can be tied to such a biometric system, but having a functioning equivalent to a
        • the mythbusters pointed out how easy finger prints are easy to fake.

          • by T Murphy (1054674)
            Was the fingerprint faked to a dumb machine, or to a machine supervised by a person? Of course India may just use the dumb machine variant, but if not I expect it would be far more difficult to keep your antics from being noticed. Keep in mind the article also mentions an iris scanner, although I don't know how the security of that compares to a fingerprint.

            Yes, there is always bribery, but this system may be more secure than others on that aspect, as you may still need that faked fingerprint (as opposed
          • by Raenex (947668)

            The summary states they're taking fingerprints, iris scans, and photographs. That's quite a lot to fake all at once.

        • by painehope (580569) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:25PM (#33516784)

          At least this is happening in India, not in a country that actually matters globally. I feel sorry for the poor bastards that have to deal with it, but if they're not willing to fight for their freedom, then this is what they'll get. At least in the U.S. we've had our experience with SSNs and the more intelligent members of our population (the ones that aren't out to dominate others - that caveat has to be added, since there's plenty of intelligent people who have no respect for freedom, responsibility, or accountability) should, mostly, be able to understand why a program like this is a very, very bad idea for those of us who value our freedom. SSNs are bad enough as-is - a government program that has become a tool of the private business sector as well, tracking every significant purchase or decision a man makes in his life. I'll undoubtedly be haunted the rest of my life by the problems I had when I was married, despite the fact that I made the best decisions that I could at the time (some of which were forced by the economy, some by personal circumstances, some by business matters gone awry)..

          Actually, what bothers me the most about identification systems like this is the invasion of one's privacy. You will never have a chance to start over after losing everything, any person at all may be tracked by government agencies much easier, et al. It makes evil deeds on the behalf of so-called "authorities" (be they governing bodies, businesses, credit tracking agencies, or what-have-you) much easier to accomplish, while offering nothing in return to the citizens subjected to such measures.

          • by moranar (632206)

            India doesn't matter globally? Try googling for the meaning of BRIC.

            • by painehope (580569)

              Which in turn leads to the question : does quantity equal quality? And by that I do not mean the quality of each individual member of their society, but rather in the quality of their lives, the quality of what they have to offer (which, at least in IT, has been very little of worth so far - please feel free to give me counterexamples, but when even people who aren't in IT [such as a young woman I was chatting with at a doctor's appointment this morning] express their frustration at the outsourced services

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AGMW (594303)

          ... You also have an easier time being sure someone is who they say they are ...

          The problem, as I see it, is that people are led to believe that such a biometric system is infallible and therefore unquestioningly accept such proffered 'ID' as secure. Given that such biometric IDs simply aren't infallible this means that those who wish to offer a false identify can do so more readily because no one questions the biometrics. The other side of the coin is that if people always do question (ie mistrust) the Biometrics (as indeed they should!) then they are no better than the old system.

          • by T Murphy (1054674)
            Wait, how were you modded insightful? You say biometrics will be over-relied on, therefore biometrics are the problem... over-reliance is the problem, and will exist with any system unless properly addressed (again, independent of what system you use). So, how about actually considering how biometrics is different from other systems: any system needs to be considered for two metrics: false positives (false identity stuff), and false negatives (someone can't prove their own identity).

            Social security num
            • by AGMW (594303)

              As for false positives, it is harder to forge a fingerprint or iris scan than to memorize the victim's ID number.

              Interesting that you should say it is harder rather than it is impossible!
              Two possibilities suggest themselves to me:
              1: Someone sets themselves up with fake fingerprints and becomes you.
              2: Someone changes the stored info so their biometrics are stored against your record, so not only do they become you, but you are no longer you!

              If we can agree that biometrics are not infallible, then we must assume that all ID checks will have to also check something else and the whole process is no longer any better

      • Insofar that you cannot go back to the iris scan, finger print or facial photograph from the number, it is about as relevant as social sec number. Roughly said, a MD5 of a photograph of you to uniquely identify you, is not a privacy scarifying act , more than having *ANY* personally unique identifier. It would be scary only if the amount of info in that number is enough to reverse engineer any of the associated biometrics. It does not seem to be the case.
        • by Raenex (947668)

          Insofar that you cannot go back to the iris scan, finger print or facial photograph from the number

          What makes you think that you won't be able to? The whole point of using biometrics is that the number is verifiable. Of course they're going to have a lookup service, which I'm sure will, if not immediately, at some point give you all the information based on any single identifier (number, fingerprint, iris, or facial photograph).

      • by moranar (632206)

        I think the AC meant that in other countries it's just the same. Argentina and Chile, just to give examples I'm acquainted with, require photographic ID and fingerprints for many things. In Argentina, you have to give your ID number to travel to other regions, in Chile, a quick fingerprint is used to legalize contracts. Neither country has yet descended into orwellian conditions because of this (we have descended into orwellian conditions for many other reasons. You could point out that it's all part of a w

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by bsharp8256 (1372285)
      Having a Social Security number doesn't prevent me from traveling anywhere within the United States, and it isn't tied to my phone number. I can also buy things without giving that number to the clerk, things the TFS hints at in the future.
      • But there are still enough things that depend on the SS number, and those things are the real reason SS isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

        • Such as? Other than getting a job and getting into college, there isn't too much that need your SSN, and those that do, really -don't- need it.
          • Exactly. The places that "need" it tend to use it as an easy, unique ID number that everyone already has memorized. For example, colleges use it so you can get help to get a new ID card without memorizing your ID number. Why memorize 12 different numbers for different places (which may change frequently), instead of just the single SSN?
            • In database terms, perhaps a lot of places are being lazy enough to not set up a better primary key?

              • Well, it's not about that. It's because people shouldn't have to remember 12 different numbers for 12 places, so it's just a unique attribute that happens to be the same across every institution.
                • what I meant by that was using the SSN or its non-US equivalent as a lazy way to get a primary key or something analogous to one. The SSN does work for that, just with a lot of other issues.

                  A non-SSN number to serve a similar ID purpose sounds like a good idea for that combining reason, yes

                  I have a lot of database theory/design-type classes fall term, so this phrasing is especially likely to come to mind, sorry

                  • what I meant by that was using the SSN or its non-US equivalent as a lazy way to get a primary key or something analogous to one. The SSN does work for that, just with a lot of other issues.

                    A non-SSN number to serve a similar ID purpose sounds like a good idea for that combining reason, yes

                    I have a lot of database theory/design-type classes fall term, so this phrasing is especially likely to come to mind, sorry

                    Yes, I was thinking database too. The thing is, it's never used as a primary key in a good database; just as its own unique value for easy lookup. That why student ID cards have an ID number on them. That's the school's primary key.

                    But, for the purposes of finding a student's record, SSN is much easier than student ID when the student is present.

                    • Yes, although I can remember the one particular ID number for my university, having to remember a lot of such ID numbers would be like something /.'ers probably know well - password wrangling on The Internet. I suppose multiple businesses all wanting the SSN is a good analogy in meatspace. Guess some have a higher memory capacity than others.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by painehope (580569)

            Try dealing with insurance companies, buying a house, even getting a simple loan on a used car that you'll pay off in 6 months. Things like that are interconnected due to your SSN being used to track you and your "credit score" (an arbitrary number that isn't affected much by any good credit actions, or payment of past debts, but is heavily penalized for the slightest failure to pay anything; I've literally had a home loan turned down because I didn't pay off the last 5 dollars on a loan for a laptop due t

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by horatiocain (1199485)

              Hahahahaha, wait - you got shot, bandaged the wound, went to the ER, gave them a fake address, argued with the nurse, stepped out for a smoke break. Would you say this is a typical day for you?

      • It's not tied to your phone number, unless you signed a cell phone contract. Then they probably asked you for it.

        Given, YOU may not have signed a cell phone contract, but a majority of people have these days.
    • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:56PM (#33516588) Homepage

      Not in Canada, there's strict laws about who can ask for a SIN (our SSN). Basically, only your employer and the tax man, as it's only used for tax purposes. I couldn't even tell you what mine is, because I don't carry the card for it, and nobody ever asks for it.

      • Forgive my ignorance but how do they do a credit check on you for a loan? Just name, employer and address?
      • by vegiVamp (518171)
        I think the idea is the same in the US, but it simply got used by everyone as an easy UID anyway.
  • Teller: Hmm. We don't seem to have your retina scan, your fingerprint or your colonic map on file. Fry: What about my ATM card?
  • thats really special they want to Biometric id a billion people Im sure that won't be used in anyway to reflect the cast system in india.... you know like those people with pay as you go instead of iPhones. Im so glad America doesn't do any business in India can you imagine what would happen if they had access to all of our personal information?
  • It's interesting that people automatically seem to think of numbers when thinking of unique IDs, like phone numbers or government IDs.

    Why?

    It would make more sense to just use email addresses. In the same way that it makes sense to use sentences for passwords, it makes more sense for unique IDs to be based on something significantly more diverse and difficult to guess than a meaningless string of numbers.

    IDs should be determinable by the person who's going to be affected by them, and in the rare case of dupl

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:29PM (#33516386)

    The original intent of this ID is create something akin to the social security number in the US.

    I'll tell you two important reasons for this
    1. Make resource allocation more efficient.
          For example, there is a concept of basic items like rice, wheat etc... being sold subsidized to poor people.
          That mechanism is very inefficient and red tape laden presently.The ID is supposed to streamline it .

    2. Currently there is no concept credit history in India other than a credit card.
            There is no way a dealer would sell you a TV on credit unless you bring somebody known the dealer along with you.

    Imagine US without SSN. That is what it is now in India. very inefficient.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Compaqt (1758360)
      Yeah, the credit fueled binge and bust worked out real well in the US ...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by computrius (1153141)
      1) What is more efficient than just giving the damned rice to the people who need it, no questions asked? 2) You act like the concept of a credit history is a GOOD thing. All credit does is open the door for you to be screwed by a bank. All while probably inflating prices because no-one has to have the cash to buy anything where otherwise items would have to be priced to what people could afford or they wouldnt sell (ex. Cars, Houses, etc.). Do you really thing $100,000 would be the cost of a relatively
    • by williamhb (758070) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @01:32AM (#33517444) Journal

      The original intent of this ID is create something akin to the social security number in the US.

      I'll tell you two important reasons for this
      1. Make resource allocation more efficient.
                  For example, there is a concept of basic items like rice, wheat etc... being sold subsidized to poor people.
                  That mechanism is very inefficient and red tape laden presently.The ID is supposed to streamline it .

      2. Currently there is no concept credit history in India other than a credit card.
                      There is no way a dealer would sell you a TV on credit unless you bring somebody known the dealer along with you.

      Imagine US without SSN. That is what it is now in India. very inefficient.

      My goodness -- it'd be like ... Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and all those other countries that don't use a social security identifier as a de facto single compulsory ID for everything else in your life apart from just social security. How horrifying!

      In a related topic, the UK's proposed national ID has been scrapped even before it has become compulsory, with the government scrapping it saying they want 'to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion.' When you've got a government saying that national IDs are a substantial erosion of civil liberties, it's worth listening to

      Of the two "important reasons" for an SSN you mention, neither is valid.

      The first does not require your social security number to be used by anyone other than (shock) social security themselves. It doesn't even need to be a universal number across both tax and benefits (and given that tax law and benefits law might sometimes consider income differently, or in ways that are open to case-law interpretation, it seems like a good idea not to link the databases too closely). In India, one of the controversial aspects of the biometric ID is that it will include your caste -- seemingly inviting caste-based discrimination. Again, a case where there's an advantage to deciding not to keep information on file.

      The second doesn't require a social security number at all. Australia, Britain, and many other countries have reasonable credit history checking methods that do not require revealing your tax, social services, or other government identifiers.

      I suspect India is actually more interested in the biometrics than in the individual ID. The problem they face is that they have a very large rural population who don't interact with official government documentation very often -- and do not have birth certificates, driving licenses, passports, and other documents that are used as proof of identity in more urban/developed countries. A biometric ID would give them one, and one that doesn't matter if the ID card itself gets lost on the farm.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      This is also why a UID is scary. Imagine a future when resources are scarcer such as in a war. An identity like this would be used to ration goods. That is the positive side when money doesn't mean anything. But there could also be potential drawbacks in the same situation, and huge ones. Suppose someone somewhere doesn't like you and they have access to *deny* you goods and services and this is possible that it could be a large overbearing institution like the government or a large corporation. Right now w
  • Troll article (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BangaIorean (1848966)
    What exactly is wrong with having a Unique ID number? The main purpose is to streamline things. Instead of having one 'PAN Card', one 'Voter ID Card' and a dozen other cards like we do now, this will substitute all of them. And what's this nonsense about privacy? People should not write articles without first researching the safeguards built into the system, and believe me - there are a LOT of them. Maybe you ought to think a bit harder about the positive implications of this such as crime prevention, speed
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Yeah, "crime prevention" more like dissident prevention. Lets see here, everything is tied into a single database which ties in voting, economics, etc. tied into a fingerprint database. A few forged prints here and there and you have a rock solid case to charge any dissident.
    • Re:Troll article (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:04PM (#33516664) Homepage

      You seem to have a lot of faith in government (or in your government).

      The reason Slashdotters (and others) are skeptical of government power is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      FYI, India is at 74 on the corruption index [livemint.com].

      By the way, an ad that pops up when searching for india corruption index is: http://indiaunheard.videovolunteers.org/?s=corruption&x=0&y=0&gclid=CLm1qair-aMCFQtN5wod2T5cGw [videovolunteers.org], which details a lot of corruption. The more tools you give government, the more harm they can do.

      It's naive to think that government officials won't use the awesome amount of cross-linked information for their own purposes.

      Also, you must likely not be a member of any kind of minority or repressed group (there are such in every country).

      • India (and I suppose all countries in the world, including the US ), have databases where vehicle registration details are stored, so that a vehicle owner can be traced based on his vehicle registrsation number. So, just because the Indian bureaucracy is corrupt, do we do away with vehicle registration numbers?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Capsaicin (412918) *

        The reason Slashdotters (and others) are skeptical of government power is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        Now I do agree with you. I would not like to see this much information so easily collated in the hands of administrative authorities and I would add that it's not only governments, but also powerful private interests which would value access to such information about individuals. However, mindlessly repeating glib cliches is a poor way of demonstrating scepticism.

        Does absol

      • by duggi (1114563)
        Actually we have a lot of faith in our corruption. Look, its not that I just know that somebody is corrupt, it is also that I know how to use it.
        In a previous attempt, this same exercise created many dupes and gave birth to many non existing people. I am talking about iris scanners here, and the officials themselves, top civil servants can be trusted. It is not a bad database design too, remember, we create most of the designs for your systems. It was later found out that a political party created these,
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Threni (635302)

          > Every system is corrupt, even this one. If your authorities want to screw you, trust me, they don't need this. This is only for the better.

          Faulty logic. This makes it far, far easier for the authorities to screw with you. How are you going to get on the internet, train, order tickets for flights abroad etc etc if you're going to get rejected because your number's on a database, having been added by someone who knows you and doesn't like you?

      • You seem to have a lot of faith in government (or in your government). The reason Slashdotters (and others) are skeptical of government power is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        It strikes me as interesting that most of the countries opposing UIDs on principle are island nations or otherwise isolated, who have never experienced occupation or dictatorship. It seems to me that in some respects they are still just theoretical experiments in democracy with no real-world validation.

        Wha

    • Indeed there's times & places where it's important to be sure who you are dealing with (for example when opening a bank account, or do a driver's exam), and having a unique ID for that purpose is okay IMO. What's wrong is using such unique ID anywhere & everywhere just because it's convenient, and store loads of info coupled to that single ID that isn't absolutely necessary for its purpose. Train company shouldn't need to know who's on the train & exactly what route someone is traveling, just t

      • by oiron (697563)

        Trains in India [youtube.com] and attempting to validate everyone's ID? Good luck with that!

        Actually, when we book a ticket online, and take the printed ticket on a train, we have to carry some ID to ensure that the person who's travelling is the same that the ticket was booked for. This is basically to prevent people from booking in bulk in advance and then reselling the tickets. Usually, it's just any photo-ID, and the conductor glances at it and at your face, and moves onto the next passenger. If the ticket is for mu

    • by Capsaicin (412918) *

      Maybe you ought to think a bit harder about the positive implications of this such as crime prevention, speedy resolution of land disputes, etc. etc. etc.

      Not to mention how it streamlines the often difficult task of identity theft.

    • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:13AM (#33518682)

      What exactly is wrong with having a Unique ID number?

      People with lower UIDs end up with a superiority complex.

  • Biometrics are all fun and good until somebody loses a hand or an eye...(or they are stolen)
  • Getting people biometrics is sure cheaper than teaching people how to read! Way to go, Indian government! Keep the people ignorant to save a few bucks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:48PM (#33516530)

    India has a much less uniform naming system, with a lot more duplicate birthdays + names, and much less variance in traits. How many Amrish Patels exist with the same name, color hair, color eyes, and same birthday in India?

    My name is not too common, but still I have a duplicate in my home US state - same name and same birthday for two people. That's fine most of the time, but the other guy is a felon, and the state does not require SSN when you are arrested. Therefore, they cannot distinguish me from the felon. My insurance was cancelled retroactively for 1 month while I was out of town. (thanks to Choicepoint for incorrectly associated his name and criminal record with my insurance - you should opt out). My voter registration was cancelled since they do not use a common primary key for voters.

    Therefore I prefer a real unique identifier that the state government would respect and correctly associate with me. Since the state uses drivers licenses as their primary key, and the feds use SSN as their primary key, I can have different identities in different states, and the cops may accuse me of being the escaped felon one day when I am innocent.

    I don't like the idea of biometrics, but I also don't trust an inaccurate primary key as my identification. A name + birthday != unique.

    The enforcement of privacy should be in the way they allow usage of the identity. Credit and Taxes perhaps are tier 2 concerns compared with entering and leaving the country.

    Just a thought...

    • by oiron (697563) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:10PM (#33516706) Homepage

      Not to mention, names can change through a person's life, say by marriage, or by religious conversion. Or maybe simply because someone doesn't like their current name. Or because they're the-artist-formerly-and-now-currently-known-as-Prince.

      In India, it becomes even more difficult - I see newspaper reports every day with people named as "A" alias "B"; not necessarily for illicit purposes, but just because they may be called differently by different people. Besides, I (for example) don't really have a "family name" - I have a given name and a couple of other identifiers. Even for those who do have "family" names, it's more of a "community" name. For example, the name "Singh" would indicate a North Indian, either a Sikh, or one of the many Hindu clans that use the name. It's not just likely that someone bearing the same first + last name would be pretty similar in physical characteristics, it would be almost a given.

      Quite frankly, I'm glad we're finally getting this.

      • by gblfxt (931709)

        why is it the rest of the animal world has gotten by just fine without incessantly tracking each other? it seems monkeys, zebras, lions, etc. have gotten by for ages without know whats going on 2 neighborhoods down, but humans can't handle it?

      • by Pastis (145655)

        Because you will now see UUIDs in newspapers ?

        There are some good reasons to change name. (think witness protection program). Some are traceable, some are not. Depends on the intent.

        But saying you want an ID isn't necessarily the same as saying you agree with biometrics. In France and in Norway, we have a unique social security number, but we don't use biometrics to define it.

    • by iammani (1392285)

      India has a much less uniform naming system, with a lot more duplicate birthdays + names, and much less variance in traits. How many Amrish Patels exist with the same name, color hair, color eyes, and same birthday in India?

      How many Amrish Patels exist with the same name, fathers name, mother name and birthdate? I am assuming not many.

      PS: if you still believe many, add pincode (Indian equivalent of zipcode) to the list.

  • by Gunfighter (1944) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:53PM (#33516568) Homepage

    ... someone forgets to use unsigned instead of signed and you end up wrapping around to being a negative person?

  • I propose we call it the Caste'r-Card.

    That way every checkpoint can require Caste'r-Card and Visa to get in.
  • What will this do for Lal Bihari [wikipedia.org] and the many other people declared legally dead (while still possessing for all intents and purposes all characteristics of a living person if not legal identification)? If the answer is "nothing," then I don't see that this is much of an improvement or advancement in the task of maintaining records on your population.

    /* Yes, corruption can override anything. I know. */
  • by Constantin (765902) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:47PM (#33516906)

    There are many benefits to having a national ID system that go well beyond the SSN in the US. For example, authorities may finally have a pretty good idea how many folk live in a particular area, which helps for voting, disaster-relief, and other efforts traditionally spearheaded by the authorities. Similarly, the use of one unified system that does not rely on the presence of a physical card could hopefully make law enforcement a bit better at avoiding false positives and negatives.

    In a country with over a billion inhabitants, having a system that assigns a ID number which is anchored by multiple biometric identifiers seems like a pretty good start, assuming the back end is secure, hard to tamper with, etc. This is what worries me though - similar previous Indian Government efforts, such as "untamperable" electronic voting machines designed for the Indian elections, have been proven to be quite vulnerable to tampering. Similarly, given how easy it can be to bribe corrupt officials, I wonder what the quality of the data will be once it has been entered / maintained / etc. for a while.

    The bottom line is that systems which rely on aggregating a lot of data have to be pretty resistant to being fed garbage in the first place and/or manipulated in the future. This is where Indian institutions have to do better in the future and one good reason why India lags other nations as badly as it does. And yet, I imagine the system that is being presented will still be light-years ahead of what India has now.

    • MOD parent up. Refreshing to see a sane comment after all the tripe about 'privacy', 'dictatorship', and so much bullshit. The focus needs to be on the technology being used, the implementation methodology, how secure the databases are going to be, how access will be limited to the system.

      Instead of presenting technical facts about this massive implementation and presenting it as a technology article, it's been presented as a [smirks and sniggers] 'your rights online' article, with bullshit scaremongering

  • I know it's old but... India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society [slashdot.org]
    "ZeroPaid has a fascinating roundup of news stories surrounding the latest surveillance laws passed in India, including a first-hand account of someone writing from inside India. The legislation in question is the Information Technology Act's amendment bill 2006, which was recently passed in the Indian parliament. Things you can't do with the new legislation include surfing for news in Bollywood and looking up porn on the internet. The l
  •   Regrettably this is the way the world is going and the stupid sheeple don't know how to fight back. Also, isn't India the country that cut off the balls of thousands during forced sterilization in the '70s?

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