Indian Gov’t Preparing Opt-Out Legislation for Aadhaar

“…the legislation will offer citizens a six-month window in which they can choose to opt out of the Aadhaar program, with their iris and fingerprint data deleted from the Aadhaar database.”

Indian Gov't Preparing Opt-Out Legislation for AadhaarThe Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is preparing legislation that will allow citizens to withdraw from Aadhaar, India’s biometric national ID program.

According to a new report, the legislation will offer citizens a six-month window in which they can choose to opt out of the Aadhaar program, with their iris and fingerprint data deleted from the Aadhaar database. However, the option will reportedly not be extended to holders of the PAN card, a 10-digit account issued by India’s Income Tax Department, which is now tied to Aadhaar.

The Aadhaar Act amendment is being drafted in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling in late September that both affirmed the government’s use of Aadhaar for services such as subsidy dispersal and income tax filing, and limited its use to these areas, effectively preventing private companies from demanding Aadhaar for authentication.

There have also been widespread concerns about how Aadhaar might violate certain constitutional protections, whether Aadhaar databases are truly secure, and confusion around the administration of government services since Aadhaar’s launch. The UIDAI’s reported effort to offer citizens a means of opting out may be a response to all of these factors; but without the legislation having been officially announced, the government agency has provided no official rationale for it.

Sources: India Today, Business Standard

December 7, 2018 – by Alex Perala