Economy

Supreme Court admits Aadhaar data leak can influence election results

Supreme Court admits Aadhaar data leak can influence election results

UIDAI maintains that Aadhaar is backed by a robust system of security and that there has not been a single breach of biometric data from its end. We can not compare ourselves with Google, (which is) using a learning algorithm, meant for artificial intelligence.

Dwivedi, however, did not make clear explanation whether the disincentives imposed on Airtel was linked to UIDAI's decision in December previous year to temporarily bar Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as the eKYC of Payments Bank clients. "Unless we do it we can't win the trust of the people", Dwivedi said pointing to challenges being thrown at the implementation of Aadhaar.

The UIDAI on Tuesday sought to tamp down the Supreme Court's concerns that Aadhaar data could be used to create voters' profiles and rig elections.

Dwivedi responded by saying that "it does not allow any "chaiwala" or a "panwala" to become a requesting entity under the Act".

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On corporate entities, the UIDAI counsel said the corporate body has to first enter into an agreement with its employees for use of their Aadhaar data for identity authentication purposes. "They want smart card because institutions like Google don't want Aadhaar to succeed", he said.Dwivedi also dealt with the persistent allegation that the people were being given a number identity as was done by dictator Adolf Hitler in Germany."Hitler counted citizens to identify Jews, Christians etc. There is no question of leaking or sharing of information", the UIDAI told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. "I want to assure my citizens that Aadhaar information is safe", the lawyer said. He denied the data could be used to influence elections, as was allegedly done by British firm Cambridge Analytica, because the UIDAI uses a "matching algorithm" and not a "learning algorithm" used by Google. "And that is why we are trying to see the nature of safeguards that can be introduced". Requesting entity is anyone submitting Aadhaar number, demographic data or biometric information of an individual to the UIDAI for authentication.

Dwivedi assured the court that contrary to apprehensions, it is impossible for a third party to obtain an individual's Aadhaar details without prior consent of UIDAI.

Top court in its ruling on March 13 had said that Aadhaar was not mandatory for banking, phone and passport services until its final verdict. "All these private players are also based on public money", he said. "They are bound by the law".

In a recent interview, UIDAI CEO said that Aadhaar is an enabler and is for empowerment and it is nowhere going to be a Big Brother or so. Dwivedi would resume the arguments on Wednesday.


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