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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Aadhaar glitch? Man who never applied for card told his biometrics done

Gopal Krishna, a civil liberties activist, said his 12-digit identification number had been biometrically authenticated although he hadn’t applied for one

india Updated: Jun 30, 2017 18:18 IST
Sarika Malhotra
Sarika Malhotra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A man gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar or Unique Identification (UID) card in Hyderabad.
A man gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar or Unique Identification (UID) card in Hyderabad. (AFP file )

A civil liberties activist, who has mounted a legal challenge to the widespread use of Aadhaar by the government, has been told his 12-digit identification number has been biometrically authenticated even though he did not apply for one.

Gopal Krishna said he received several emails earlier this month from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) telling him that an electronic authentication of his Aadhaar card, which involves taking finger and iris prints and submitting several documents, had been done.

Krishna is a signatory to a bunch of petitions challenging the government’s stand making the Aadhaar mandatory. The government has been pushing for the card to be linked to various government schemes and for income tax returns.

Krishna pointed out the mistake to the UIDAI over Twitter after receiving the first authentication email addressed to one P Krishna. Since then he has received two similar emails about his Aadhaar authentication.

“How can my Aadhaar authentication happen when I have not given my biometrics and iris, and indeed never even applied for one?” Krishna, a member of the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, told HT.

UIDAI officials ruled out any glitch in the system, saying they communicate with emails that applicants provide them. They hinted to a possible mix-up at the level of Aadhaar enrolment centres that are run by private parties.

“Authentication emails are sent to email ids given by applicants at the time of enrolment,” one official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

While a clerical mistake was a possibility, Krishna said it underlined weak backend support for managing the biometrics and details of a billion people.

In March, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s personal details were leaked by a sanctioned Aadhaar enrolment agency, exposing flaws in the identification project’s data collection and storage systems.

The central government has been pushing for the use of Aadhaar, saying it is necessary to plug leakages in its subsidy schemes and to ensure benefits reach those targeted.

But critics say the move violates privacy, is vulnerable to data breaches and helps government spy on people. The Supreme Court is hearing several petitions against making Aadhaar mandatory to avail public services.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 18:14 IST

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