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Saturday 19 November 2011

Unverified UID data may risk security: Chidambaram

Unverified UID data may risk security: Chidambaram
NEW DELHI: Amid reports of 'unverified' data being collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in order to issue 'Aadhaar' numbers, the Union home minister PChidambaram has expressed concern over such an exercise saying there is real chance of inclusion of non-usual residents and creation of false profile in the project which may compromise internal security.

Besides, the home minister has also pointed out how the data being collected by the authority may amount to 'duplication' of the entire exercise leading to unnecessary expenditure when the Registrar General of India (RGI) is supposed to carry out enrolment..

In a letter to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on November 8, Chidambaram said the process of the National Population Register (NPR) being prepared by the RGI have been carefully devised after considerable deliberations at the level of an empowered group of ministers (EGoM), pilot trials, consultations with state governments. The home minister said the UIDAI process of enrolment is based on production of documents and, in the absence of documents, through an 'introducer'-based mechanism.

Sources in the ministry said that the issue was likely to be taken up in the Cabinet soon as the home minister was keen to bring it up as early as possible.
19 NOV, 2011, 04.27AM IST, ET BUREAU 

Home Minister P Chidambaram wants cabinet panel meet on UID

NEW DELHI: With the Registrar General of India (RGI) questioning the reliability of biometrics collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the Aadhaar scheme, Union home minister P Chidambaram has sought an immediate meeting of the Cabinet Committee on UID to discuss the security risks posed by fake identity profiles infiltrating the UID data. 

The Cabinet panel will also address the issue of convergence between UID and NPR exercises, including the request of the MHA to leave the collection of biometrics entirely to the RGI. 

Raising doubts over the authenticity of identification details furnished to the UIDAI, Chidambaram, in a recent letter to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, complained that the possibility of fake profiles in the UID data was "real". 

His apprehensions stem from the fact that UIDAI enrolment is based on production of documents or an introducer-based mechanism, unlike the NPR where the biometric data is captured by enumerators and socially vetted by publication and placing before the local bodies. 

"The data collected by multiple registrars of the UIDAI does not meet the degree of assurance required under the NPR from the point of view of internal securitya¦The possibility of inclusion of non-usual residents in the local register and the creation of false identity profiles is also real," warned Chidambaram while adding that there were legal, technical and practical issues that made it difficult to accept data collected by other registrars. 

The RGI and the security agencies say the UIDAI has no provision to verify the claim of any person who enrolls his name and provides photographs, fingerprints and the iris, leaving enough scope of creation of false identity profiles. 

However, UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani has countered the MHA's views on the efficacy of data collected by UIDAI under Aadhar. 

"As far as the enrollment of residents is concerned, the UIDAI follows three methods (approved by Demographics Standards and Verification Procedure Committee) for collecting data: Document based, Introducer based as well as the NPR process. This data (both demographic and Biometric) is the basis on which the unique Aadhaar number is issued," he said in a letter to the media on Thursday. 

At his end, Chidambaram has also objected to the exclusion of biometric data collection from the NPR exercise. Arguing that biometric details were collected under the pilot project on multi-purpose identification cards and the coastal NPR project, Chidambaram argued that work orders for data entry, biometric capture and printing of local register of usual residents for Rs 57 crore had already been placed. For the balance, population, bids had been received and processed. The NPR exercise is to be wound up by December 31, 2012, as per schedule finalised by RGI. 

Reminding the Rs 1800 crore had already been spent on NPR project, over and above the money spent on MNIC pilot project and coastal NPR, Chidambaram insisted that completion of the NPR at the earliest was necessary keeping in mind the internal security scenario.

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