Sunday, 21 May 2017

Can Biometric Authentication through Aadhar be Misused?

Lock Your Bio-metrics
"Can Bio-metric Authentication through Aadhar be Misused?" appears to be funny. If you ask me, I will tell U that till now, No two individuals can have same fingerprints or IRIS patterns and that's why many bio-metric systems are designed on the basis of unique IRIS patterns and Fingerprint patterns. But due to ongoing researches and modern technologies, there is every possibility that the IRIS and Fingerprint patterns could be clones and saved for future manipulations. As we already know that scientists have already cloned animals from the bone marrow of the existing animal. Cloned animals can have same iris, fingerprint patterns.

I would have never accepted this doubt or fear but when I visited the UIDAI website of Government of India, it provided the facility to Lock or Unlock the Bio-metrics to secure your Aadhar Authentication as per your need by locking or unlocking your bio-metrics. What does it mean? The common man will infer that during the period one's bio-metrics remain in open status then the same can be or could be manipulated.

The UIDAI started the Aadhar Bio-metric Locking System to lock and temporarily unlock the bio-metrics immediately before going through Aadhaar Based authentication process. UIDAI website further tells the residents that the facility is provided to Protect Privacy and Confidentiality of Residents Bio-metrics Data - which clearly implies that Bio-metric data can be misused or manipulated and it can be harmful as Aadhar authentication has been allowed as e-verification for many financial transactions.

What is the Impact of Locking Bio-metrics:
  • The Individuals who lock their bio-metrics may not be able to use the authentication facility in case of dire need and therefore the UIDAI website cautions the Users of Locking System to use this facility with care to prevent denial of Authentication services.
  • Locked Bio-metrics ensures the Aadhaar holder will not be able to use their Bio-metrics (fingerprints/iris) for authentications thus preventing potential misuse.
The UIDAI, by writing the words "Potential Misuses" has given a clear-cut signal that Bio-metrics can be manipulated and/or misused.

Moreover to avail the Locking/Unlocking Facility the individuals need to have Registered Mobile Number to avail the service of Locking and Locking. Without having registered Mobile Number, I fear no one will be able to draw the benefits of Aadhaar Based authentication. 

To the best of my knowledge, I have inferred that every Aadhaar Card holder desirous of using the Locking and/or Unlocking facility of bio-metrics must have the internet enabled mobile or smartphone on the go so that in case he or she wants to prove his or her identity through Aadhar based authentication, then he or she can unlock the bio-metrics for proving his or her identity anywhere anytime. Having an internet connection while on the go is a pre-requisite to avail the locking facility so that users can switch to open or locked status. Now it is a million dollars question if the Government of India can provide Free Internet Enabled Mobile Phones to at least those citizens who can not make both ends meet and are living below poverty line.
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