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India To Issue Over a Billion Biometric ID Cards

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the might-be-a-few-hitches dept.

Privacy 167

angrytuna writes "The Unique Identification Authority is a new state department in India charged with assigning every living Indian an exclusive number and biometric ID card. The program is designed to alleviate problems with the 20 current types of proof of identity currently available. These problems range from difficulties for the very poor in obtaining state handouts, corruption, illegal immigration, and terrorism issues. Issuing the cards may be difficult, however, as less than 7% of the population is registered for income tax, and voter lists are thought to be inaccurate, partly due to corruption. The government has said the first cards will be issued in 18 months."

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Illegal Immigration? (-1, Troll)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706079)

They have problems with people trying to get INTO India? I thought everyone wanted to get out!

Re:Illegal Immigration? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706171)

For Bangladesh having 1093 people / square km, India with 349 people / square km is a paradise.

You know, there is a big world out there outside the US.

Re:Illegal Immigration? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706305)

Yes I always call Bangladeshis, India's Mexicans

A New Everest! (2, Informative)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706755)

If the cards were piled on top of each other they would be 150 times as high as Mount Everest -- 1,200 kilometres.

India's legions of local bureaucrats currently issue at least 20 proofs of identity, including birth certificates, driving licences and ration cards. None is accepted universally and moving from one state to the next can easily render a citizen officially invisible -- a disastrous predicament for the millions of poor who rely on state handouts to survive.

Re:Illegal Immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707043)

You know, there is a big world out there outside the US.

And it all smells like ass.

Re:Illegal Immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706301)

True, everyone wants to get out of india and into the land of milk and honey...

Re:Illegal Immigration? (5, Informative)

TheWingThing (686802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706591)

They have problems with people trying to get INTO India? I thought everyone wanted to get out!

Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Nepal
Terrorists from Pakistan
Refugees from Sri Lanka (and to a tiny extent, Burma)

You need to get out of your little well once in a while.

Re:Illegal Immigration? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707069)

Or cross the road. If you're a chicken.

Re:Illegal Immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707217)

snark

Re:Illegal Immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707223)

And in about 5 years, illegal immigrants from the United States.

Awesome! (1, Insightful)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706083)

The best part about biometrics, is, when someone gets your fingerprint, or makes a mold of your face after knocking you out with a billy club, you can totally..... uuuuhhhh.... get..a new one?

Re:Awesome! (4, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706093)

also for all those people who are 1 in a million there are a thousand identical biometric cards.

Re:Awesome! (2, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706183)

Absolutely. After getting hit with the billy club, you would have a new face. The old mold would be useless!

Re:Awesome! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706261)

After getting hit with the billy club, you would have a new face.

Depends where they hit you.

That's where anatomically. It wouldn't matter where in the geographical sense.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706359)

That's why three-factor security is the only real way to make this work. They have two factors already (something you have (card) and something you are (fingerprint)). Now if they could just close the deal with a PIN code (something you know), that would be the hat trick of security. They could even provide you with a 'duress' PIN that you could give someone if you were at gunpoint. It would automatically lock everything down. And the best part? When the systems that maintains all this fails, you don't have to call some crazy foreigner to get it fixed because you are already in India!

Re:Awesome! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706839)

If you are at gunpoint and everything gets locked down, you are no longer useful.

At least something to take into account when dealing with people willing to point a gun at you.

Billionth Indian (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706089)

I hope they don't have to stand in a queue!

Re:Billionth Indian (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706189)

will they run into arithmetic bugs similar to Y2k, ie after the 999,999th issued card will the next one roll back to Zero?

Re:Billionth Indian (3, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706817)

Indians do not stand in queues. They stand in masses and push and shove to get to the front.

Easy (1)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706091)

Outsource it to an American company!

Who will outsource it back to India in a flash. (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706421)

And pocket lots of dosh in the process

Difficulty (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706111)

Issuing the cards may be difficult

But spending the money sure won't.

In the business of government, as long as the money passes through your hands, you win.

Oblig. quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706147)

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." -- Gerald R. Ford, in an address to a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974

Re:Oblig. quote (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706669)

Quote the only President never to have gotten a single vote in any national election; yeah, that's insightful.

Re:Oblig. quote (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707029)

1976 presidential elections say otherwise:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_1976

Re:Oblig. quote (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707355)

I misspoke; I should have said he was never ELECTED in any national election. You're quoting a loser.

Re:Oblig. quote (1)

Blahgerton (1083623) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707659)

No national politician bats 1.000 in elections. They're all losers, but not simply because they've failed to be elected.

Re:Oblig. quote (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707899)

If you don't win an election, you LOSE the election. Jerry Ford never won a national election.

And I agree about the "all losers", Bush won twice and the whole country (maybe the whole world) lost.

One billion (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706163)

a new state department in India charged with assigning every living Indian an exclusive number and biometric ID card.

      OK, 1 billion should just about cover all the Indians living in the UK, Canada and the US, but what about all the rest?

      PS: It's a joke. I for one welcome our corner store/curry house operating Indian overlords. Thank you come again!

Re:One billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707517)

Is it wrong that I find this funny despite being an Indian?

Assign them numbers. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706165)

Every single person in India should be assigned a 30-bit identification number. Problem solved!

Re:Assign them numbers. (2, Informative)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707001)

From TFA -- "It is surely the biggest Big Brother project yet conceived. India is to issue each of its 1.2 billion citizens..."
2^30 = 1,073,741,824

Every single person...

And what about married persons?

Re:Assign them numbers. (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707341)

We'll just use a pair of 128 bit numbers. One which identifies your current status. The other identifies your presence to the public world.

Then we'll just route them ;).

Hmmmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706185)

I wonder how many Bob Maharajapurams there are. I seem to get him every time I call tech support.

Re:Hmmmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707621)

You do know they dumb down their names so the verbally challenged (with dumb queries in the first place) Americans can pronounce them correctly? The smart Americans don't call tech support most of the times. http://www.aajkatv.com/pplayer.php?id=157 [aajkatv.com]

Comment on Germany Interesting (1)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706201)

"German police can detain people who are not carrying their ID card for up to 24 hours."
Papers, please!

Sigh, if it hasn't happened already, SOMEBODY in the US government is going to try to convince us that we need to be more like India!

However, maybe this current clusterfuck will tie up so many Indian programmers, the US won't be able to export any more jobs.

Re:Comment on Germany Interesting (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706243)

Given the IT ramifications, I think you mean:

However, maybe this current clusterfSck will tie up so many Indian programmers, the US won't be able to export any more jobs.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Comment on Germany Interesting (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706547)

Papers, please!

Uh, I only have a pipe, man.

Zen you'll Haff to come vit me!

(From "A Child's Garden of Grass")

Re:Comment on Germany Interesting (1)

Quetzo (753720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707507)

hehe.

India actually happens to be among the handful of countries in the world where consumption of marijuana is legal. It's the *only* country in the world where such consumption is sanctioned by the government. You can walk up to a govt. run store, hand the dude some cash and walk away with a bag of reefer.... good times...

Re:Comment on Germany Interesting (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707937)

What can they do to people who go longer than 24 hours without carrying their ID card?

America has over 50 types (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706207)

America has over 50 types of commonly used ID, and that's not even counting the several types of ID cards and drivers licenses that some states have, nor does it count military IDs, civilian-government-employee IDs, university-issued IDs, passports, and more.

Re:America has over 50 types (4, Insightful)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706561)

America has over 50 types of commonly used ID

and you're not required to have any of them to live in the u.s.

Re:America has over 50 types (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706605)

and you're not required to have any of them to live in the u.s. Yet.

There, fixed that for ya

Re:America has over 50 types (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706623)

Yes, but many (most?) have more than one of them. Most military personnel, for example, have their military ID, state drivers' license, and motor pool personnel have military drivers' licenses. Plus you have tour Social Security card (the one I lost last month when my wallet was stolen said "not to be used for identification purposes" but the new ones don't say that). many folks have passports, etc. in addition to their state licenses.

Personally, I'm against a national ID card, or for requiring ID for most things at all. It annoys me when I'm asked for ID to buy beer, my white goatee and gray hair should identify me as "old enough to drink."

For that matter, I shouldn't even need to carry my license; the cop can look me up by name on his squad car computer and identify me by my photograph.

I have a biometric ID and so do you (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706229)

My driver's license has my photograph. Is that not a biometric?

When my wallet was stolen all I should simply had to go to the DMV and sign something, which would have verified my signature, and my photo would have verified that it was me. When I was pulled over, all I had to do was tell the cop my SS number and he could see that I was me and was licensed (I was warned to fix my tail light).

The DMV required an alternate form of ID (I'd already replaced my YMCA card; the Y was where the wallet was stolen) and a bank statement to verify my signature.

I think Illinois needs a new Secretary of State. The process was ludicrous, even though it only took a few minutes.

Re:I have a biometric ID and so do you (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706435)

No, you picture is not a considered true 'biometric' because it requires a human to decide 'sure I guess this looks like you'. Now if they actually assigned metrics to your facial structure that might work....unless you had an identical twin, but I digress.

Also, this statement:

The process was ludicrous, even though it only took a few minutes.

Made me think you need to watch this video [youtube.com] .

fingerprints? DNA? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706481)

No, you picture is not a considered true 'biometric' because it requires a human to decide 'sure I guess this looks like you'.

You mean like "Your fingerprint LOOKS like a 10-point match to the one we have on file" or "The DNA test output from your blood LOOKS like the one on file"?

Just as there are "face twins," two people whose faces are so similar they can be confused, there are probably "10 point fingerprint twins" and "current-generation-dna-test" twins among the earth's billions of inhabitants.

Re:fingerprints? DNA? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706697)

My daughter bought me a book for Christmas last year, 100 things you're not supposed to know, and one of them was that DNA is unreliable, and gave reasons and citations.

More than half of the stuff in the book I already did know, I guess I'll be getting a call from Homeland Security...

Re:fingerprints? DNA? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707957)

sigh, no. You are missing the 'metrics' part of biometrics. When a fingerprint enters a database it notes such things as how many microns each swirl is form the others, retina images use a similar set of metrics. These are dispassionate numbers not open to human interpretation.

With the image on the license none of this information exists. There is no way to determine how many centimeters the bridge of your nose is from the ridge of your brow, or the circumstance of your skull.

But you make a good point about DNA; this is also not a biometric per se because it's completely open to a human making a judgment call based on less than perfect methodology. It's it's way off, then it's easy. But god help you if up against someone who's DNA printout is 'pretty close' to yours.

Re:I have a biometric ID and so do you (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706685)

Except that if Illinois is like many states, the fact that your photograph is on your license doesn't do the DMV any good when you have lost your license. Most states don't have your photograph on file. They send you a renewal form. You sign it and send it back along with the fee for renewal. They send you a form that you take to the appropriate location where your picture is taken and a license is printed with your picture on it. This picture never enters the state's database.

Re:I have a biometric ID and so do you (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707191)

No, the photo was on file, I didn't have to have the photo taken again. I showed my bank statement and YMCA card, gave them five bucks, and in less than five minutes had a new license. You only have to get re-photographed when you renew your license, and the new photo goes into the database replacing the old one.

If you get pulled over, the cop can look your photo up. Technologically backwards we ain't; one of the worlds most powerful supercomputers is at U of I at Champaigne/Urbana, and the world's largest particle accelerator is too (until the LHC hoes online anyway).

Re:I have a biometric ID and so do you (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707643)

Maybe you never got to experience the horror that was George Ryan. Things are much better and more streamlined since Jesse White took over. Everything it more reliable, runs faster and more efficiently, and keeps the public from going completely bonkers. I interned at a DSF for a couple summers in college. Things to note:

- Central database is a massive IBM mainframe and the reps are using what is essentially a custom telnet client to access the forms and processes for their usual work.
- Reps also have a direct terminal to CICS so they can instantly get records.
- Illinois DL/ID cards are some of the most tamper resistant and hardest to fake cards out there. That having been said, I preferred the last series cards. Unfortunately, some of the card printers were stolen from one of the facilities, which screwed things up for everyone.
- People make mistakes/people are stupid/people lie. There are some people (reps and applicants) who won't read the forms they have in front of them and Bob will get sent to the camera with Jane's paperwork, or pay for the wrong thing, etc. Also, there is the problem of twins, which I experienced once. One passed her driving exam, the other would likely kill someone if given a car, good driving sister tried impersonating bad driving sister, bad things happened to both of them as a result. Fathers who want to see their sons with the same name they have get licenses but don't have all their ID will fraudulently try to pass off their SS cards as their son's. I saw this happen on a few occasions.

You wouldn't believe the stunts people try to pull and the consequences they are allowed to walk away from. The attempts at fraud (even in the "country club" DSF I worked at) were ridiculous, and always happening. Its because of losers like those people that you had to jump through hoops, not the state.

Re:I have a biometric ID and so do you (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707939)

It isn't very fair to compare White to a convicted felon, now is it? Yes, he's head and shoulders above Ryan.

Central database is a massive IBM mainframe

I took a class at a local college, and the instructor was one of the supervisors there. The whole class got a tour, and it was very interesting and informative. That computer was badass! I especially liked the dual natural gas generators for a backup power supply. It was awesome!

Also, there is the problem of twins, which I experienced once. One passed her driving exam, the other would likely kill someone if given a car, good driving sister tried impersonating bad driving sister, bad things happened to both of them as a result.

The same problem might happen if the biometric is DNA, as they were sisters. I hope the good driver got her license revoked for letting her sister use it. But like I said, a photo plus a signature should suffice; unless the sister was a good forger and the good driver had an easily forged sig anyway.

Fathers who want to see their sons with the same name they have get licenses but don't have all their ID will fraudulently try to pass off their SS cards as their son's

I saw this about 20 years ago when I was working on a child support database as a consultant (the project failed). Dad was being dunned for his kid's support.

You wouldn't believe the stunts people try to pull

Yes I would

and the consequences they are allowed to walk away from

I live in Illinois, so yes I would! ;)

even in the "country club" DSF I worked at

I would imagine it would be more prevalent there. I've known more rich scoundrels than poor scoundrels.

Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706233)

Oh ruddy ruddy heck, jolly well indeed!

Beep! (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706247)

Unique Identification Authority

Huh. Did they have a contest to come up with the most Orwellian sounding name? Are they a section of the Department Of Bureaus? :)

Re:Beep! (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706319)


Unique Identification Authority

Huh. Did they have a contest to come up with the most Orwellian sounding name? Are they a section of the Department Of Bureaus? :)

I think they're part of the Department of Redundancy Department.

Re:Beep! (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706601)

Did they have a contest to come up with the most Orwellian sounding name?

Well, they had to find a name that wasn't taken.

Re:Beep! (1)

SlashV (1069110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707323)

"The People's Biometrics of India" ? Taken ? Oh well....

Re:Beep! (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707321)

could be worse. they could have called it Big Brother's Phonebook. but i guess the UK has dibs on that name...

Great use of money guys... (0, Troll)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706255)

...Spending billions of dollars on ID cards when a huge percentage of your population is starving to death in the streets -- nice to see that your priorities are in order

Sick priorities (0, Troll)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706265)

Leaving aside the technicalities of the project for a moment, these are strange priorities. India is not the only country to have lots of starving people and homeless, but instead of feeding them or building homes, they are to piss billions of Dollars giving them ID cards for the New World Order to track them.

Sick!

Re:Sick priorities (4, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706289)

Leaving aside the technicalities of the project for a moment, these are strange priorities. India is not the only country to have lots of starving people and homeless, but instead of feeding them or building homes, they are to piss billions of Dollars giving them ID cards for the New World Order to track them.

I think they aim for this move to benefit the poor as well. When they have an ID number it's going to be easier for them to use their rights, such as voting or obtaining state handouts.

Re:Sick priorities (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706391)

Its an attempt to improve delivery of social services (e.g. food supplies to the poor), subsidies and also to address security concerns. Or did you think those things happen only in the US?

Re:Sick priorities (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706399)

Trick is making countries buy technologies which they can`t afford (including nukes) and ask them to give up a resource when the loan pay day comes.

http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Economic-Hitman-Perkins-John/dp/B001GG67CC/ [amazon.com]

"For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs (less developed countries) around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies."

This one serves to NWO too, double evil ;) ID Card guys will say "look, even India uses them" to suspicious govt. guys.

Re:Sick priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706699)

if you're right then it's not India blowing the money, it's the NWO

Re:Sick priorities (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706773)

Theres only so much you can do for poverty. Programs are already in place for them.

Its no different in the rest of the world. Government makes priorities and budgets. Id hate to see an entire nation held back because there will always be poor people. Cannibalizing the good parts of government to just hand out meals is never a sustainable policy.

That said, there can be social goods from good accounting like this. More people paying taxes, better census, jobs created, better tracking of migrations, identification of criminals, etc etc.

Re:Sick priorities (1)

oneTheory (1194569) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707619)

Um, "identification of criminals"? Because they're always sure to have government issued ID on them at all times, and would never fake this information...

Re:Sick priorities (2, Informative)

redmagician (1598641) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707031)

Without proper identification, it becomes to difficult to serve state services (such as unemployment, relaxed microloans, susidized food to lots of 'starving and homeless' people you mentioned in your message, and so on). In my opinion, this should have been implemented several decades ago. US/Canada have Social Security/Social Insurance number and it makes it easier for government to provide state services using that number. India doesn't have anything of that sort (yet).

Re:Sick priorities (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707125)

The idea is that the one card will be a _central_ identifying entity, instead of the locally issued identifiers which are not valid outside that area.

This will actually help the poor who migrate to areas with work, but still need subsidised food and cooking gas.

India also has an immigration problem with Bangladesh and Pakistan. If you live in the US, imagine the entire population of Mexico migrating into the US every year.

But when will it be done? (4, Interesting)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706295)

Not that I look forward to being in a huge database, but I am curious how long it will take given that things are so chaotic in India.

Some years ago when the government decided to issue voter cards for everyone eligible to vote, everyone in my family who qualified went to get photographed etc and some months later the cards turned up... with everyone's data mixed up. So my father was not only a woman but the daughter of my sister who happened to be the wife of my mother and so on. And pretty much every family in the neighborhood had their's screwed up as well.

So one billion people and at least two trials.. I would give the program at least 10 years - and that is being optimistic, I think.

Re:But when will it be done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706563)

... with everyone's data mixed up. So my father was not only a woman but the daughter of my sister who happened to be the wife of my mother and so on. And pretty much every family in the neighborhood had their's screwed up as well.

Sounds like the typical ghetto family in the U.S>!

Re:But when will it be done? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706765)

Heh, here in Illinois our voter cards are made of paper and don't even have a photo on them. The election judges seldom ask for them. We're so patriotic that even being dead doesn't keep us from voting!

Kind of makes you realize how George Ryan [wikipedia.org] and Rod Blagojevich [wikipedia.org] got elected Governor (Ryan is in prison now, Blago was impeached and removed from office and goes to trial next year).

Re:But when will it be done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707555)

And they are only recent examples, don't forget Otto Kerner Jr. and Danial Walker!
Sheeze! To think I even VOTED for Walker!

Re:But when will it be done? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707111)

Because of the massive amount of corruption and general crime, this is doomed to failure. Issuing an ID card to someone who has no possessions or living quarters will make them a ripe target for identity theft I imagine.

Re:But when will it be done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707335)

Talk about India having one of the largest and arguably better outsourcing businesses in the world and still they at home cannot come up with a good voter card software/database.

Re:But when will it be done? (3, Informative)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707779)

Perhaps you are trolling but I will respond nevertheless.

India is an amazing country: full of contradictions, and somehow the wheels still turn just fine.

I have been to banks in India where I had to spend the whole day to encash a cheque; the usual routine was to go to the bank, get in the queue and hand the cheque to the cashier, take a token, go home, have lunch, and come back in time to get the money. I have also been to banks that one would consider pretty efficient with every encashing taking roughly two or three minutes despite it being pretty crowded.

The government is horribly inefficient, but some private companies are as efficient as I have seen here in Germany. The point being that chances are that the companies involved in the outsourcing business are not government-owned.

I have heard people complain about the quality of outsourced jobs - and frankly I have no experience about either side of the story - but that is another story altogether and has nothing to do with the fact that the Indian government can't handle issuing voter-id cards properly.

Got backups? (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706309)

Lets just hope that these guys learn from the Germans and have a GOOD BACKUP of the private key for the CA. Although, I wonder how much the manufacturer of the cards would be willing to pay the operators to "loose" the backup tape.

Re:Got backups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707811)

Loose the backup tapes as in having the tape despooled from the cartridge, or lose the backup tapes?

re-identification and stolen identities (4, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706371)

Given the corruption they have now, what makes them think corruption won't continue?

Stealing someones biometric data will mean an increasing arms race for technology to identify someone. It will eventually fail as corrupt agencies and criminals have the same methods to read biometry data and create the id cards. As a way to slow this down - do not give the biometric data to the person, explained thus:

Instead, people should be issued replaceable, hard to fake credentials (ID cards) - that do NOT have biometric readings on them, rather just a long random number. These would be easy to read - and the random number identifies the holder.

Creation and issuing of credentials would be done only based on government-run biometric scans. The identifying agency keeps the biometric data secret at the time of issue or re-issue, and links the biometric data to the replaceable credentials/random number.

This way if an ID is stolen or in dispute, the person comes in, gets scanned again and a new credential/card/random number is issued and the old one is cancelled.

This allows one upside: no big, central DB of biometric data - each local area keeps their own. By removing a central identity DB, corrupt officials will have smaller targets to break.

Re:re-identification and stolen identities (2, Interesting)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706753)

Part of the corruption with ID in India right now is unpersons, people with no ID and who have been 'lost' in the records. Asshats (who probably payed someone to lose the records in the first place) will then go in and claim that person's property as public land, since that person can't prove it belongs to them anymore. A better ID sceme and a central database will hopefully alleviate the problem, even if there are still other exploits in the system to be used.

Greater Brahmanistan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28706379)

A country that level of poverty and illiteracy that builds atomic weapons capable of attacking the United States does not have it's priorities in order. Perhaps Indians should redirect their energies to fixing their social problems at home.

I wonder what the justification is. Keep out illegal alien American guest worker programmers and hotel operators?

Re:Greater Brahmanistan (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706471)

No, both them and N. Korea, Pakistan plans to nuke their neighbors and live peacefully after it. You know, radiation, rain, winds, water supplies. They are all fine, such side effects will stop in that artificial map line we call "border" :)

Your Rights in Meatspace (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706389)

Yeah, I agree that we need a new Slashdot category.

They have problems with bad census? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706483)

There are many bad ideas about a biometric id card, but the one good thing about it should be the ability to FIX the problems they mentioned with no accurate census. Each person gets one card, they give fingerprints and show some kind of name proof. If the fingerprint is in the system, you don't get another ID.

Unfounded optimism (1)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706551)

The "predicted cost of £3 billion" (from TFA) works out to a cost of £2.50 per card per person. Anyone else think this seems a little optimistic, given I think highly secure identity cards cost a little more than that to manufacture, never mind the infrastructure costs involved?

(P.S. trying to get pound symbols to show up on Slashdot from an American keyboard sucks)

Re:Unfounded optimism (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706895)

I think your guess is approximately correct. While the article is actually quoted with "a predicted cost of at least 3 billion", assuming India's government proposals being as understated as anything western I think we can guess 3-5 times that amount.

Without the mention of which biometric is being used, or how the biometric will be read an estimate of cost is useless. The usual overhead of running a special department, enforcement of rules, dealing with counterfeits & more should also be considered costs, but probably won't be.

P.S. banging rocks together is clearly the superior way to create fire.

Re:Unfounded optimism (3, Interesting)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706903)

Spot on - the UK recently gave up on ID cards [bhagwad.com] because it was (amongst other reasons) too costly.

How on earth is India going to afford it with 20 times the population and 51 times less per capita GDP? Something's not right here.

The Keeping Tabs Around The World section (2, Interesting)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706923)

From the article: The Bush Administration resisted calls for an identity card in the US after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

I guess it would be more accurate to say, "The Bush Administration resisted calls for an identity card in the US after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 until he signed the Real ID Act into law in 2005." [wikipedia.org]

666 (1)

JTBunton (1595819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28706991)

Did anyone else hear Iron Maiden in their heads as they read that headline?

We needed this ... (5, Interesting)

Sukhbir (961063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707117)

very badly. Considering there are different cards for almost everything in which you need an identification check, this was long required. I have card A for casting my vote, B for getting my LPG supply for cooking, C for getting subsidized food. If I lose any one of them, I have to go through the entire process again which involves around four to five working days and bribing corrupt government officials who are not ready to work. For getting a thing as simple as cellphone connection, I have to submit at least 3 identification documents - my voter card, my driving license and a college confirmation letter (in case you are a student). This has been done to check the use of mobile phones by terrorists, but since there is no standardized identification, it hurts the common man who just needs to get his work done. We are all looking forward to this. Lets just hope it gets through.

Oh well... (0, Flamebait)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707269)

...I guess the insignificant problems of clean water and clean air, safe roads and reliable electricity can wait, as long as some idiotic solution to a non-extant problem can be pursued !

Sorry I can't be bothered to find the appropriate links to back me up, please see some of my previous posts on the miserable state of infrastructure in India.

alleviating the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707357)

The program is designed to alleviate problems with the 20 current types of proof of identity currently available.

So, they have 21 now?

32-bit IDs (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707439)

Well I hope the Indian government knows that the 32-bit ID space is probably a tad too cramped...

Newsflash, Jan 26 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28707505)

Newsflash, Jan 26, 2013.

The state Department of Unique Identifiers (DUI) announced today that the project to issue Globally Unique Democratic Identifiers (GUDIs) is in serious jeopardy. Apparently, they budget called for just over 1 billion ID cards and while the procured one billion have been used, they acknowledged the presence of confirmed live people standing in queues across the country who could prove they were born on genuine Indian pavements. The spokesman also acknowledged confusion at media reports that the subset of people with an ID card did not overlap with the subset of people deemed alive or those known to have paid taxes or the subset claiming various government benefits.

When asked for a clarification, the minister in charge of the department agreed with the assessment of the situation but expressed his inability to verify the actual statistics. He sheepishly confirmed that he was not in possession of a valid ID card yet, nor was he aware of anyone in his immediate family or political circle with the required papers. He also vehemently denied knowledge of recent tabloid reports that his maid, driver and cook each possessed multiple ID cards.

Recent western media reports have raised privacy concerns over the ID program and DUI ability to control its direction. In a recent BBC interview, Ram Lal (no last name), a pavement dweller in Mumbai expressed dire concern when interviewed by a BBC reporter. Surrounded by his immediate family of 14 in his one-room shanty, he overcame his initial lack of comprehension about the notion of "privacy" and faulted the government for its insensitivity and draconian measures. When asked about his experience in using the global ID, Ram Lal expressed frustration at his inability to claim government benefits due to chronic IT issues. He was unable to comment on his experience with the income tax department, citing lack of experience.

Meanwhile, in the Indian border state of Bengal, the communist party government announced the opening of their Dhaka marketing office.

In other news, the Chinese premier congratulated India on discovering that it was the most populous country on the planet. The Chinese company in charge of mass production of ID cards promised to step up production.

Numbers game... (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707589)

OK, so 6B on the planet, at least 2B are Chinese...they're going to get biometrics from 1/2 the country?

OH! That'd be the 'untouchables', those who do the grunt work and die in the streets.

(If it were untrue, you could complain....)

Indian Democracy (1)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707793)

Having spent a lot of time in India, those guys couldn't organize a meeting about writing an article about a potential piss up in a brewery. And this is the private sector, as soon as the Government gets involved there would be 400 forms to fill out in triplicate before discussing the running of the meeting (or the "runnage" of the meeting). And lets hope the people wanting to start the meeting are licensed organisers.

wtf (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707881)

less than 7% of the population is registered for income tax, and voter lists are thought to be inaccurate, partly due to corruption

So the reason the current system don't work is only 7% of the population is paying income tax, and there is lots of corruption.

So the solution is a massive new government initiative [randsinrepose.com] to work around the cause of the current problems.

Yep, sounds like bureaucracy to me.

Assignment scope. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707885)

...charged with assigning every living Indian an exclusive number and biometric ID card...

Only the "living" Indians - well that's a relief. Of course, they believe in re-incarnation, so ...

Wont Change a thing.. (1)

subrato (964201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707925)

Say what you will, but I know India is too corrupt for anything. People commenting on the fact that there is too much illegal immigration from all the places in India, tend to forget that getting something like this ID is going to be easy for those people too once it is known how the system works. The government officials are too corrupt and too poor to not take a bribe for any work. So once you have enough money and know correct people, getting anything done in India is not a big deal. Now to deal with such a problem, the government has to start off by implementing the rules to curb the population. I know not one politician would have any balls to speak about the issue. Hell there are some politicians who have more kids themselves and will try to stop any kind of legislation to be passed for the same. None of the politicians give a dime about what the common man will suffer. Providing basic facilities for these people is just a promise for every politician in India and it shall always remain that way. For all this to change, may be the current and probably the next generation will have to make more compromises than many are willing to but change doesnt come overnight and it certainly doesnt without a cost.

Mandatory New World Order post (2, Insightful)

aaandre (526056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28707927)

Watch your Overlords as they beta test your future in 3rd world or smaller countries.

China, New Zealand, Finland, Thailand: Internet Censorship under different pretexts.
India: Biometric IDs.

Feel free to add to the list.

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