Aadhaar Can’t Ensure 100% Authentication: UIDAI To SC


New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey today told the Supreme Court that Aadhaar-based verification cannot always ensure successful biometric authentication.

Pandey also admitted that currently there is no institutional mechanism in place to deal with cases where a citizen’s biometrics do not match with those linked to his/her Aadhaar identity.
Pandey’s comment was in the context of allegations that services have been denied to citizens in cases where their biometrics have failed to match their Aadhaar details.

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Pandey told the Supreme Court that the UIDAI has repeatedly asked government ministries not to deny services in cases where a citizen’s biometrics do not match and to set up an institutional mechanism to deal with such scenarios.

Biometrics may not match due to a number of factors such as problems with internet connections and malfunctioning devices, and so, Aadhaar-based verification should not be relied on absolutely to authenticate a citizen’s identity, Pandey told the Supreme Court.

“Repeated circulars have been issued by UIDAI that services should not be denied [in cases where biometrics do not match a citizen’s Aadhaar details]. We have always advised ministries to not have 100 per cent reliance on biometrics authentication,” Pandey told the Supreme Court today.

Pandey’s admission came during the ongoing Supreme Court hearings over a number of petitions and Public Interest Litigations (PILs) that have challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, which is overseen by the UIDAI.

A citizen’s Aadhaar identity is linked to, among other personal details, his/her biometrics such as fingerprint, iris scans and photographs. Service providers – government or private – often use these biometric markers to authenticate a person’s identity while providing their services.

Banks, for example, scan an applicant’s fingerprints while opening new accounts and match them with his/her Aadhaar records in order to authenticate the applicant’s identity.