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UIDAI working to protect data, SC told

Author: IANS/Wednesday, March 28, 2018/Categories: Legal

UIDAI working to protect data, SC told

New Delhi - The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) told the Supreme Court that it was closely working with the Justice Srikrishna Committee for putting in place a robust data protection regime as it claimed that in last seven years there was no leak of biometric and demographic data at its end.

The UIDAI said this as five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked there may not be leak of data at its end but can there be leak at the stage of authentication of biometric and demographic information while opening bank accounts or availing other services.

It told the bench that when Aadhaar is used for authentication, say for opening a bank account, the only thing that UIDAI knows that it has been used for authentication but for what purpose or details of it are not known to it. 

Making a power presentation before the constitution bench also comprising Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said that the software being used by the agencies enrolling people for Aadhaar or for authentication belongs to UIDAI and can't be copied or stored on any other device.

Dispelling doubts about the misuse of data or security of the same, he said that they keep upgrading the technology and named some of the eminent people in the country who were advising and supervising the technical aspects of the whole Aadhaar operations. 

Addressing a query from the bench as to why people can't have Singapore type smart card on which all information about a person is stored, Pandey said that it would difficulties as any technological upgradation would involved replacing 1.20 billion smart cards and also they are prone to exposure.

As Pandey concluded his power presentation spread over two days, the petitioners gave him two sets of papers having 20 questions for clarifications.

The bench asked him to respond to these questions in writing by next date of hearing on April 3 and if the petitioners have any more clarifications to seek, they will ask for them on that date.

Referring to the details submitted by UIDAI that there was 12% authentication failure resulting in loss of benefits to the intended beneficiaries, senior counsel K.V.Viswanathan said that total figures come to 14.4 crore people as 1.2 billion people are already under Aadhaar cover. 

He urged the court thats it interim order saying that Aadhaar could not be insisted upon should also cover subsidies, benefits and services under Section 7 of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

The court order, as it stands, rules that for availing subsidies, benefits and services, a beneficiary has to produce his Aadhaar number. 

The hearing will continue on April 3.

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