Can’t use Aadhaar for forensic matches, UIDAI tells Delhi HC

Updated on May 05, 2022 06:10 AM IST

UIDAI was replying to a query by the court in connection with a 2018 robbery and murder at a jewellery shop in Delhi after the prosecution sought that certain biometric data collected at the site be matched with the Aadhaar database.

During the proceedings on March 29, the UIDAI counsel Nidhi Ramantold the court that there is complete restriction on sharing biometric particulars and photographs of its users with any agency or person.
During the proceedings on March 29, the UIDAI counsel Nidhi Ramantold the court that there is complete restriction on sharing biometric particulars and photographs of its users with any agency or person.
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Biometric data collected for Aadhaar cannot be used to identify criminals or solve crimes, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has informed the Delhi high court, pointing out that sharing or use of biometric information for any purpose other than the generation of the Aadhaar number and authentication, is “impermissible” under the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

UIDAI was replying to a query by the court in connection with a 2018 robbery and murder at a jewellery shop in Delhi after the prosecution sought that certain biometric data collected at the site be matched with the Aadhaar database.

In its reply, UIDAI said that it anyway does not collect biometric information suitable for forensic purposes of any investigating agency, and that use of the biometric data for random matching purposes of accused may not be technologically feasible.

“The technological architecture of UIDAI or its mandate for Aadhaar-based authentication does not allow for any instance of 1: N matching where fingerprints, including latent and chance finger prints, are matched against the other finger prints in the UIDAI database, except for generation of Aadhaar number where the biometric information has been collected in accordance with the technically laid down procedure,” said the reply.

UIDAI said that the prayers in the plea were not only contrary to the mandate of the Aadhaar Act but also to the judgment of the five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in KS Puttaswamy case, where the directions given by the Bombay high court for using Aadhaar for forensic purposes were quashed.

“…it was held that no core biometric information which includes thumb impressions can be directed to be shared with anyone whatsoever or used for any purpose other than that permitted in the Aadhaar Act,” UIDAI said in its reply.

During the proceedings on March 29, the UIDAI counsel Nidhi Ramantold the court that there is complete restriction on sharing biometric particulars and photographs of its users with any agency or person.

In its plea, the prosecution -- Delhi Police -- said that Hemant Kumar, the owner of jewellery shop HR Jewellers at Adarsh Nagar was murdered by unknown persons. Three years later, in June 2021, chance prints taken from the spot were sent to the fingerprint bureau but no matches were found on their database. It also contended that the photographs of the accused, which were obtained from the CCTV footage of the area, matched with the face recognition system, but no match was found.

It added that since the accused were not traceable, the help of UIDAI was being sought in the case.

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