Govt should validate accuracy of biometric authentication before making Aadhaar mandatory

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Aadhaar KYC is being made mandatory for availing several public and private services. Though I do not have any issues with government's efforts to drive transparency through these initiatives, it seems that there are severe issues with accuracy of the biometric authentication provided by Aadhaar in particular and biometric authentication in general. I am posting three articles highlighting the problems caused by inaccurate authentication.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/Uf5B33ZB2sYKpmLqwMke8O/Aadhaar-fails-MGNREGS-test-in-Telangana.html

http://www.moneylife.in/article/when-your-own-fingerprints-make-your-aadhaar-invalid/48694.html

http://www.naavi.org/wp/aadhar-authentication-unreliable/

Of special concern are the cases of "false negatives". That is, authentication failing even though the person being authenticated holds a genuine Aadhaar number. I gather that people engaged in housework and manual labor are more prone to false negatives when finger prints are used for authentication. 

In a country of the size of India, even a 1% case of false negative authentication can lead to untold problems to large number of citizens. Please note that there are no guidelines issued on how to deal with failed authentications when everything else seems fine. Re-submission of biometrics to UIDAI , with its own additional problems like long queues and enormous time wastage, seems to be the only way out for affected persons.Moreover there is no guarantee that authentication would succeed post re-submission.

My request to the government and UIDAI is (a) Validate the accuracy of biometric authentication through extensive tests (b) draw clear and simple guidelines on how service providers can approve Aadhaar based KYC even if biometric authentication fails in genuine cases (c) allow alternative forms of authentication like OTP based authentication without any caveats in all cases and scenarios where Aadhaar authentication is mandated.

 



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