Viewpoint: The pitfalls of India’s biometric ID scheme


More than a billion Indians now have the biometric-based 12-digit personal identification number called Aadhaar, which means foundation in Hindi. What started as a voluntary programme to tackle benefit fraud has now grown into the world’s most ambitious, and controversial, digital identity programme. Mishi Choudhary writes on why most advanced countries are not adopting similar identification programmes. In many of the other highly-developed societies in Europe and North America – and in the view of many computer scientists and policy-makers who study and advocate for policy in this area – using single number identity systems for everything is simply not a good idea. In 2010, the United Kingdom abandoned a similar scheme of a national identity card linked to biometric information. Israel has a smart card identification system with no fingerprints where data is not stored in any centralised database but stays only on the card. Viewpoint: The pitfalls of India’s biometric ID scheme

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