ALOYSIUS XAVIER LOPEZ
“In India, we have no idea if biometrics will work or not”
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) should be wound up as biometrics has failed miserably in many parts of the country, said eminent legal expert Usha Ramanathan.
Delivering a lecture on ‘Interrogating the UID and the National Population Register,’ Ms. Ramanathan, who has been monitoring and engaging with the UID project, said: “In India, we have no idea if biometrics will work or not.”
“Two to five per cent of people do not have fingerprints that work,” she said, pointing to the study using biometric technology which was tested on 25,000 people by the Biometrics Standards Committee before commencement of the project in 2009.
“It is an anti-people project. I am not willing to have a technology god to oversee me. Companies handling biometric data also have close links with intelligence agencies,” said Ms. Ramanathan.
Following the memorandum of understanding between the Registrar General of India and UIDAI, the National Population Register is breaking the rule in collecting biometrics, she added.
“There is simply too much we do not know. The National Population Register is actually acting illegally. The executive has systematically ignored the order of the Supreme Court. Yet there is hardly any questioning and reporting in the media.”
She stressed the need for learning the principles of civil disobedience when the State sees itself above the law. “There has never been an audit of the system. We need to destroy the system.”
“It is not a unique identity project. It is a unique identification project. It is about helping agencies identify us,” she said.
Chairing the talk and moderating the discussion, eminent lawyer Geeta Ramaseshan, clarified why we need to be wary of the hidden agenda in official schemes for creating a citizens’ roster through invasive data harvesting.
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