Do you even fathom what it is like to maintain databases of over 1.1 billion people? That is exactly what our country is aiming at. We are not just talking about authentication systems but everything. Today you can pay bills, buy groceries, using Aadhaar card. With such a large scale database there are pros as well as a few concerns if we must say.
Verification and Its Importance
What is happening is that the Aadhaar card is verifying the authenticity of the person. It is saying, “Yes, this person is who he says he is.” Such a uniform identification system is very helpful for the citizens individually. It makes their day to day tasks easier. You no longer have to carry a separate identity card as an address proof and another as an ID proof. You can just show your Aadhaar card and enjoy all the benefits.
The government is now stressing on the use of Aadhaar cards. With more and more benefits and schemes aimed at poor, it is mandatory to now has Aadhaar cards. It is an instrument to verify authenticity. Does this mean the privacy of these many persons is at risk?
Aadhaar Card Privacy concerns
With a country as large and ever expanding as India, a uniform identification was much needed. In 2010, UK was forced to scrap its identity register because it limited civil liberties. It is interesting to note that they carry out the same still now for the foreigners.
Now the problem here is not that the government has your data. The issue is that the corporations show a wild interest in those data. Aadhaar card is the central hub of information which the private firms could use to their benefit. The ideal scenario would be where the masses had a say about how the corporations used their data. They should also have a say about whether they want to share the information and with whom.
Google, Jio, Skype, All Connect Aadhaar
Yes, you can use Skype to connect with your friends on Skype. However, Microsoft claims that it deletes all the Aadhaar card data after it connects. Jio, on the other hand, sold millions of SIM cards using Aadhaar card as the basis of authentication. Google has recently asked the government for the Aadhaar card details of users.
The huge interest these companies are taking in the Aadhaar card makes it clear how vital it is. However, it also raises the security concern. Is Identity theft one of the prime issues that we can face in future? The companies believe otherwise. You cannot forge identity if the government holds such detailed information about you.
Futuristic public infrastructure
Aadhaar began in 2009 aiming to bring the entire population under one umbrella. Other governments around the world are already in awe of the infrastructure. The biometric system scans your iris, fingerprint and assigns a unique 12 digit code. The system impressed governments of Afghanistan, Algeria, Tanzania and Bangladesh. These governments were in talk about how they can replicate the same for their countries.
A singular database of people ensures the schemes reach the right people. In future, it can also act as a barrier for those who are unlawfully coming to the country. With Aadhaar put in place, terrorism can also be checked.
Importance of Aadhaar for India
India is a country with the diversity we all know that. But the diversity is also with the number of literates and illiterates. 30 percent of the people cannot write their name. 40 percent of the people does not get registered at birth. We know that the birth certificate is so essential in so many cases. To open a bank account you needed to produce a large number of documents. There was a risk of losing them too.
Today with Aadhaar card put in place, all your data is protected digitally. This means that even if you lose your Aadhaar card, you can apply for it by logging online. Even if you cannot read or write, you can produce your Aadhaar card to get things done.
Paul Romer, chief economist at the World Bank, said, [quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]The system in India is the most sophisticated that I’ve seen. It’s the basis for all kinds of connections that involve things like financial transactions. It could be good for the world if this became widely adopted.[/quotes]