Aadhaar Not A Profiling Tool Says UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan
UIDAI, CEO, Ajay Bhushan Pandey laid to rest all concerns about data privacy and protection aspects with regard to the 12 digit biometric identifier, emphasizing the use of Aadhaar for identification purposes rather than in any way for reporting.
He was addressing a live chat on Twitter which was in a question and answer format and went on for more than 1.5 hours. 20 Aadhaar related queries fitted in the time slot some of which were regarding its linkage to mobile SIMs, shifting of enrolment centers to banks and government offices, the biometric identifier advantage and data privacy issues.
He dispelled fears of Aadhaar being used for government surveillance or its likelihood of being misused. He clarified that it is used for identification purposes alone. When the resident’s fingerprint and Aadhaar number is provided to the UIDAI by banks it’s matching is done with the person’s name and communicated through a limited eKYC to the bank. No resident information is given by the system to the government.
Linkage of Aadhaar number with the bank account could in no way lead to government’s freezing of the accounts stressing that bank accounts constituted citizen property.
He answered in the negative to a query about using DNA profiling in the coming periods and said that iris, fingerprint and photo were sufficient means for generation of Aadhaar, authentication of the individual and de-duplication.
Limited eKYCs and Virtual IDs were not thought of for combating data leaks but for reinforcing the data privacy system. He stated that an individual’s privacy was his fundamental right and this formed the basis of Aadhaar. Aadhaar information was protected by strong laws and sharing individual data without permission was a punishable offence. The concept of Virtual ID, a number comprising 16 digits was introduced for authenticating holders not wanting to share their Aadhaar number. The generation of the Virtual ID for the Aadhaar card holder could be done from the Aadhaar website.