The Unique Identification Authority of India has clarified that it cannot share data from the country’s biometric national ID program after the head of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said such information could be used in criminal investigations.
Speaking at the 19th All India Conference of Directors of Finger Prints Bureau, the NCRB chief had said that Aadhaar data would be particularly useful in the many criminal investigations involving first-time offenders. Even if such individuals leave behind fingerprints at a crime scene, they cannot be match against police databases since they are, as first-time offenders, unknown to police. But they could be matched against Aadhaar, which contains fingerprint data of all registered citizens. The same is true of deceased individuals who policy are unable to identify.
Responding to that argument, the UIDAI has issued a statement explaining that the laws governing Aadhaar strictly forbid sharing such data with police. “As per Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act, the biometrics data collected by UIDAI can be used only for the purpose of generating Aadhaar and for authentication of identity of the Aadhaar holders and cannot be used for any other purpose,” the agency said.
The UIDAI’s strict adherence to this framework may in part be informed by political strategy, with Aadhaar having been under the scrutiny of India’s Supreme Court for some time now with respect to Indians’ privacy rights, potential discrimination, and other risks pertaining to the ID program. Indeed, in its statement the UIDAI specifically noted its deference to the Supreme Court in one particular investigation in which the Mumbai High Court had ordered the sharing of Aadhaar data, and the Supreme Court had stayed that order.
Source: The Economic Times
June 22, 2018 – by Alex Perala