India’s biometric identity card program continues to roll out as the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) asserts that 100 million of the unique identities have been linked to official bank accounts, according to an article in The Economic Times. The UIDAI suggested that the 100-million-mark represents ‘a major milestone’.
The ambitious program, which uses a biometric registry of citizens connected to their Aadhaar identity cards and is part of the ongoing Digital India initiative, not only aims to enhance border security, but also to improve the administration of government services and to cut down on graft. To the latter ends, the program seems to be finding success; as of December 9th, transactions over the Aadhaar payment system totaled over $79 million. Meanwhile, the Aadhaar cards themselves continue to be issued, reaching over 700 million citizens as of the end of last week.
According to the article, India’s Aadhaar citizenship registry “is the largest biometric database in the world”, and indeed, India has been a major pioneer in this area. Other governments are taking notice, though some are already running into legal trouble, as in the case of Australia’s efforts to create a similar database for border control purposes.
December 18, 2014 – by Alex Perala