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Indian Census To Collect Fingerprints, Photos

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-massive-undertaking dept.

Government 141

adityamalik writes "The Indian census kicks off on Thursday, with approximately 2.5 million people charged with conducting it across the billion-plus strong country. 'Officials will collect fingerprints and photograph every resident for the first time for the register — a process described by Home Minister P. Chidambaram as 'the biggest exercise... since humankind came into existence.' Sensitivity towards collection of biometrics and personal details is quite low in India currently. I wonder how effective — and how powerful — the exercise will turn out to be for the country. I'm also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise."

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Quoi. (1, Offtopic)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704686)

How does collecting genetic data assist in statistically analysing population trends?

Re:Quoi. (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704696)

it doesn't. This is most likely another project thats piggybacked onto the census, as you take out 2 birds with 1 stone as the phrase goes.

or this is a failure of an April fools joke

Re:Quoi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704702)

what genetic data is to be collected? a fingerprint??

Re:Quoi. (2, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704760)

what genetic data is to be collected? a fingerprint??

The article does not mention any kind of genetic data collection at all.

Re:Quoi. (5, Informative)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704708)

Fingerprints and photos =/= Genetic Data
Although to answer your question, not much. Although, if illiteracy is as bad as it suggests in TFA, then the purpose is probably to overcome this to some degree - if people can't write their name, then recording their fingerprint and their photo will reduce errors. There's a few reasons listed in TFA:

But Ashish Bose, a retired professor of Indian and Asian population studies at Delhi University, warned of mistakes creeping in despite the best efforts. "Uneducated people in villages never know their ages correctly. It is never a '51' it always 50 or 55. But overall we conduct a good census -- no doubt about it and the vast majority of people are keen to participate," he said. S. Parasuraman, a demography professor at the Tata Institute of the Social Sciences in Mumbai, said the new population registry will provide a valuable database. "In a disaster for instance, one will be able to pinpoint how many people were living at a place before and after the catastrophe struck. It will be a compilation of useful information enabling proper governance," he said. Data collected for the National Population Register will in turn facilitate the issue of the 16-digit Unique Identity Numbers to all Indian residents. This will serve as a one-stop proof for all Indians to establish their identity, eliminating the current need to produce multiple personal documents.

Now, putting aside the inherent "creepiness" of fingerprint scanning, it makes sense. It's the Indian poverty version of a driver's license as an ID.

Re:Quoi. (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704730)

Depends on your population trends and ruling elites greatest fears.
From a criminal underclass susceptible to outside messages, an ever expanding number of farmers with no land, no work and no compensation.
With fingerprints and fast FBI like data processing many crimes will point back to an id on file and a photo.
The problem with the ID dream is the "freedom fighters" will have "one way" mission ready perfect ID.
Everybody else has to sit as expensive ID is produced, printed and used everyday.
The real fun is then the figure print scan expansion.
To access new expensive and later daily government services would a fast, user friendly finger 'scan' be introduced?
Protest too much and your ID has errors, stop protesting and it works again?
Take your case to a human rights worker - your ID stops for much longer and the state has an ID on the humans right worker.
The state can turn or dispose of trouble makers and work on long term solutions to local problems.

Re:Quoi. (4, Interesting)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704742)

What you say is scary, but it won't happen in India for a simple reason:

The Indian government is (luckily) incompetent and indisciplined. For tyranny to succeed, discipline is necessary which the Indian government doesn't have. An incompetent government is a gift to the people. Better than having competent fanatics. Undisciplined people can't do great irreversible damage!

Re:Quoi. (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704766)

An incompetent government is a gift to the people.

I think India is an example of it going a bit too far. India is in desperate need of Chinese style population control. Right now the region is a sitting duck for famine. I wouldn't want to see a billion people starve to death.

Re:Quoi. (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705008)

hard to imagine how it sustains a bilion people already.i guess a lot of them are living worse then my dog does (which wouldn't be hard i guess, my dog sleeps in the bed and gets premium raw pet food, he even has a health plan)

Re:Quoi. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705142)

He's better off than 30 million US citizens then.

Re:Quoi. (0, Troll)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705356)

Nonsense. In the US, the poor people are fat. If they cannot afford health or otherwise, it is because they made choices in life.

Re:Quoi. (2, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705626)

Bullshit.

Poor in America are fat mostly because the cheapest and most accessible foods have high calories and low nutrients (somewhat exacerbated by low levels of physical activity).

I am not even going to bother refuting your ridiculous assertion about healthcare, my rage at your ignorance and arrogance isn't good for my blood pressure.

Re:Quoi. (-1, Troll)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705724)

who cares? it ain't like they are human. fuck them and their slant eyed monkey cousins north of them. Just think, if all the chinese and all the dot on the head indians died, we would drastically reduce the burden on the planet and make our economy recover. If the monkeys in africa would go too, the world would be just about perfect. I for one am sick of allowing niggers, slants,sand niggers and dots to be included in the human race. They ain't white, then they are animals and should be culled, or made extinct.

Re:Quoi. (-1, Troll)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705892)

I love it when idiot mods choose to call an honestly held and true opinion "flamebait". Spend 15 years locked up with niggers and spics and white trash and see what your beliefs are then fucktard. Niggers, in all their varieties, are useless and should be shot on sight. And that includes rice niggers, sand niggers, dotted niggers, and taco niggers.

Re:Quoi. (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705182)

Undisciplined people can't do great irreversible damage!

That's what I thought about the US. Hell, 8 years of incompetence and the country strong as ever (back in 2008) - I figured that's a great stress test for the economy. And then it just collapsed. Yes, a national economy largely runs on autopilot, but the reason for it is the tremendous inertia it has a result of its sheer size. What one must remember is that a very large object, while stable in motion, is equally difficult to divert when it's rushing headlong off a cliff. I guess while the undisciplined people themselves probably can't do much damage (I don't think I would blame Dubya personally for most of the things that are wrong with the economy today), they serve as a catalyst for the real opportunists to do the damage. In his case, he tended to collect people based on loyalty rather than ability - hardly a good choice for running something as complex as a country. I think that was his only real crime (everything else was politics as usual) and that incompetence did do a lot of irreversible damage.

To get back to India, while a 1984-style fiasco is not possible (for the reason you mentioned), it has led to unscrupulous bastards (usually criminals) taking over local governance in many of the major cities. The local and state governments are strong as compared to the central, but they are hives of corruption because they are largely isolated from the greater political scene. At this moment in its history, corporations are probably the only constructive force left in India.

Re:Quoi. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704776)

the problem is, nothing like your paranoid dreams has ever come true. technology doesn't instantly mean a corrupt all powerful government, in fact the real world is just the oppersite. no one uses id cards to control people, they use guns, land mines and machettes.

Re:Quoi. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704836)

Where I live, we do have a national ID for decades and biometric passports are being phased in at the moment. Despite all the "Papiere bitte!" paranoia, in the last couple of years, the only people I had to actually show my ID were not evil gubbermint thugs controlling me on every street corner, but rather private security services making sure that I was who I claimed to be when I entered sensitive areas like R&D departments of some of my clients. Hell, I don't even need to show my passport when I leave the country. Total gubbermint control looks different to me.

Re:Quoi. (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704960)

The problem isn't for the ordinary citizen during peacetime, but rather when the government decides to go to "war" against their private citizens. From the 1990s onwards, the west has been pretty peaceful. But imagine if we get another wave of Cold War era paranoia? Do you -really- want the government tracking everything you do when that happens? National ID cards aren't terrible during peace where nothing is happening, but a few laws passed on the side can allow the government to easily profile a person as an "enemy"

Imagine this scenario. Your country goes to war with say, Japan for no apparent reason. Everything about Japan is frowned upon, those of Japanese decent are rounded up (similar to what happened in the US), and the government requires IDs to be checked when purchasing goods to "make sure you aren't a spy". Well, all that happens and the government is logging data, profiling you. It sees that you bought a book about the culture of Japan at the local bookstore, some sushi with a friend and a collection of Asian flags. From this information the government decides that -you- could possibly be a spy for Japan trying to overthrow your government so you either have A) your reputation ruined or B) go to a secret prison and are never seen again.

Such things seem unrealistic, but similar things have happened in the past even with no national ID and no standard way of checking people. When hysteria grips the masses, people who say they support freedom change their tone.

Re:Quoi. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704984)

it's easy to paint anything in a bad light when you make up imaginary scenario's and play the "what if" card to it's nth degree. eg.

what if i didn't get my national id card and someone tries to shoot me, and the bullet could have been stopped by the card? think of all the people what could be saved by bullet proof national id cards!!!

making up implusible things that might happen isn't a strong defense.

Re:Quoi. (1, Informative)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705302)

But what was just described wasnt at all implausible. In the early 1930's the Jews of Germany were happy to complete the cencus that had a box marked for religion. in 1933 some Austrian managed to get himself installed as Chancellor. Within five years we had had Kristellnacht and then those same census forms were used to start rounding up and ghettoising the Jewish, and other "undesirable" populations. Go back to 1999 and the new milennium - would anyone in the West have imagined that within 2 years we would be figthing a pair of major bush wars in 2 other countries, and be missing a couple of skyscrapers just 2 years later on? If I'd had some official document floating about that marked me as "Muslim" accessible to a lot of people I'd be worried for myself as well even though I had done nothing wrong.

Re:Quoi. (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705410)

Made-up scenario?

The Census has already admitting to giving information [google.com] on Japanese-Americans for the purpose of their internment at concentration camps during WWII.

After denying it for decades, they finally admitted giving names and addresses [scientificamerican.com] of Japanese-Americans to the military.

Generally, if the government tells you X, the truth is likely Not X.

Re:Quoi. (2, Interesting)

jackal40 (1119853) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705340)

People always say this is unlikely or unrealistic until it happens. As one posted already, we had an Austrian Corporal use Germany's census data to round up the Jews and the United States government did the same to the Japanese Americans during World War 2 - using census data.

If you're OK with providing all the information government asks for during the census, fine. I am not, not because of some tin foil hat conspiracy theory - just from a sense of history. It will probably amount to nothing, but I don't buy the explanations of why they need that info.

Fortunately, in the United States, we are not (yet) at the point of the government collecting photos and fingerprints. I don't expect that will last too much longer - probably be required as part of health care.

Re:Quoi. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705490)

People always say this is unlikely or unrealistic until it happens.

Bingo. In a healthy society, you don't get this sort of mass hysteria. Those "people" are correct under those circumstances. When a society declines from good health, such as has been happening in the US for the past ten years, that's when you have to worry.

Fortunately, in the United States, we are not (yet) at the point of the government collecting photos and fingerprints. I don't expect that will last too much longer - probably be required as part of health care.

Another wonderful outcome of Obamacare.

Re:Quoi. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#31706330)

Ah, yes, that imaginary Obamacare where the government has massive amounts of interaction with citizens.

Meanwhile, in what just passed, everyone has to buy health insurance from private companies, so it's really hard to see at what point the government would be requiring any form of ID.(1)

The only place the government is going to be interacting with anyone is paying taxes and distributing subsidies to cover health insurance...and the government has always required biometeric identification to pay taxes and receive tax rebates...oh, wait, no it hasn't.

In fact, it doesn't require any identification, which is actually somewhat odd when you think about it. The only thing stopping you from mailing in someone else's taxes and thus getting someone else's tax rebate is a simple employee address verification and that private banks won't cash the check.

I'm sure they'll start requiring ID just for your paranoid fantasies, though.

1) Ironically, the right tried to keep people here illegally from buying into the public option, and if they had done that, you actually would have to show ID to get that insurance Sadly, the public option was killed.

Re:Quoi. (5, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704732)

FTA:

a simultaneous process of collecting biometric data on every person, to be used in a new National Population Register

Data collected for the National Population Register will in turn facilitate the issue of the 16-digit Unique Identity Numbers to all Indian residents.

Sounds like they don't have an equivalent of social security numbers- the biometric data will help make it easier to figure out who is who in this process. Given the population, in addition to literacy issues, using an easy method is more practical than trying to minimize police-state like data collection. If you can't expect everyone to keep track of their own ID number, you need another way to peg the person to the number later. As much as I don't like the idea of fingerprinting everyone, if it's the only way to efficiently get the government to better provide services for these people, I see it as a necessary 'evil'.

Re:Quoi. (1)

tirefire (724526) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705006)

If you can't expect everyone to keep track of their own ID number, you need another way to peg the person to the number later. As much as I don't like the idea of fingerprinting everyone, if it's the only way to efficiently get the government to better provide services for these people, I see it as a necessary 'evil'.

You've got a point here; illiteracy makes recalling and processing written numbers difficult. A biometric system will be great for the illiterate.

However, I see no need for the literate to use this system. They should have the option of just getting a number. After all, the biometric data is likely stored and processed by computers, meaning it is expressed as a number. Maybe I'm exhibiting severe computer stupidity, but it seems like one computer system could keep track of both biometric and plain old "Social Security" numbers.

Re:Quoi. (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705288)

We could tattoo numbers and barcodes on them instead. I hear IBM has just the software for the task.

Re:Quoi. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705016)

Firstly, I'm Indian.

They aren't going to do anything useful - paperwork will still be the way they ("our" government) does things. To be honest, most ppl working in government desk jobs are stupider than your average office-going person. It will take at least 5 years for anything useful to come of it.

I sure as shit hope they're using a 64 bit doubleword, longword, long long, quad, quadword or int64 [wikipedia.org] for the 16-digit UIN/UID, with a unique key in their database. Knowing Indian govt., that's an easy thing for them to muck up.

I wonder if ppl can start buying UIDs :-) And how much it costs to get an extra one (fake) :-)

People in India do not understand the implications of anything privacy related other than locking the door and possibly checking your computer for viruses/virii.

Anyways, I probably won't get one since I'm not a resident.

captcha word: "robbed" - how ironic.

Re:Quoi. (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705366)

I'm guessing another reason they're doing this is to limit fraud. It will be much harder for people to steal social services benefits if the finger prints don't match with someone who qualifies.

Re:Quoi. (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#31706254)

How about they focus on improving literacy instead of accepting the status quo and "efficiently" tracking the population like cattle? The government is less interested in delivering services than in control, and any potential benefits will be overshadowed by certain evil.

Re:Quoi. (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704762)

Well the process of collection makes it far more likely that the average person will remain in awe, fear and subservience to the state.

Why? (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705100)

What is it about the "process of collection" that "makes it far more likely that the average person will remain in awe, fear and subservience to the state"? Are people in India generally in awe/fear/subservience of the state? My impression when I visited on two occcasions is that many people are happy to question their political leaders and are happy to exert their political rights in many cases.

My experience of India though is limited so if you can provide examples and references I'd be happy to be educated.

Also, what do you mean by "the average person" in India? thanks.

Re:Quoi. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705150)

If you can't read, don't know where or when you were born and chose your own name, usually you don't know what a 'state' _is_.

Re:Quoi. (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705430)

You can still watch the news on TV (or listen on the radio), so I think people know what state and city they are in.

Also, there are degrees of illiteracy. If you had to, I'm sure you could start writing your name (or ID number) in Arabic or Chinese even if you couldn't read a newspaper in those languages.

The biometric stuff is just a pure power grab. Do bureaucrats have international conventions where they discuss how to be more and more Evilll?

Re:Quoi. (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705348)

Governments are basically are in a race to be the most privacy-invading, rights-ignoring country across the world.

Meanwhile the US Census is sending out the American Community Survey [google.com] , which wants to know:
-if you run a business from your house
-how much you earn from various activities
-how you spend your money
-number of toilets
-what time you leave for work, how long it takes, and how many travel with you (wonderful to know for stalkers)
-and other weird and invasive questions

SMILE! (1)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704698)

SMILE!!! You're on candid camera INDIA EDITION!

Pros... (5, Interesting)

doishmere (1587181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704700)

As long as reasonable attempts are made to keep this information secure and out of the hands of the police, this is a case where the privacy concerns are far outweighed by the benefits. India has the world's second largest population [wikipedia.org] ; think about how difficult it must be form them to keep track of even simple census data. The U.S. has a population one fourth the size of India, and still has trouble taking taking a census only once every 10 years. This will allow India to better allocate aid to impoverished regions, or even just track what percentage of children actually attend school.

Re:Pros... (5, Informative)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704724)

Privacy concerns cannot be "outweighed" because:

1. Privacy is a legal right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution [bhagwad.com]
2. The courts have repeatedly shown that they will uphold privacy
3. People fought and died for freedoms - not development. Losing privacy is one step towards losing freedoms that we have earned

You may not treasure your privacy and that's your right. But don't tell me that I mustn't care for it in the name of "Development." A person like you will probably applaud the Chinese government for development at the cost of privacy.

Re:Pros... (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704764)

nice one, link to your own blog douche bag...

Re:Pros... (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704772)

Wow. I haven't read the Indian Constitution, but that sounds pretty impressive. Certainly sounds like something the so-called "free world" would do well to emulate. Yeah, I know, fat chance.

Re:Pros... (2, Insightful)

doishmere (1587181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704842)

There's a difference between a right to privacy and the right for you to keep you existence unknown from the government. I agree that privacy is terribly important, but you can't deal with absolutes; yes, people have died for freedom, but that does not mean we must reject anything that encroaches upon it the slightest. The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, its doing so to provide services to them and properly run the government. You claim the Indian courts will protect privacy; if this is truly the case, then it is likely that anyone misusing this data would be prosecuted.

Re:Pros... (2, Insightful)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704892)

There's a difference between a right to privacy and the right for you to keep you existence unknown from the government.

So you're unknown to the government if they don't have your prints now? I guess before this breakthrough invention a census was a meaningless exercise. And IDs and passports a joke. And paper trail for taxes, properties and so on just something to kindle fire. Oh, how silly of so many other countries.

I agree that privacy is terribly important, but you can't deal with absolutes

Yeah, whoever heard of things that you either have or don't. Also, you're a little pregnant, you know?

The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, its doing so to provide services to them and properly run the government.

Right. Of course. And whoever does not fully trust that bunch of selfish bureaucrats is a traitor. Or a terrorist. Or something. Mussolini would be proud of you, son.

Re:Pros... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705030)

Can you explain the difference, in terms of privacy concerns, between an image of your fingerprints and an image of your face?

Please use short words, because I'm clearly neither as smart nor as angry as you.

Re:Pros... (1)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705208)

Mate, your opinions on yourself are your own business and those on myself are lighter than a feather, so please consider not wasting page space next time. As they say, stones and sticks may break my bones and all that jazz.

Now as to your question. A picture of your face is in the majority of cases not a definitive means of identification - especially the limited type in photo IDs. Maybe you've heard of people looking alike. Perhaps that's one reason why some places (like banks) would ask you for 2 photo IDs for identification? OTOH a fingerprint is supposed to be a unique means of identifying a person. Try proving your innocence in court if the prosecution has only a picture of someone looking like you, versus them having found your fingerprint at the scene.

Re:Pros... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705872)

http://www.truthinjustice.org/fingerprint-myth.htm

Too bad people *believe* it is unique identifier. DNA markers are closer to unique, but again, they are not. Especially since only a few markers are used for matching.

Re:Pros... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31706222)

Chummy, old buddy, dear heart, I most humbly apologise for not realising that your words are more worthy than mine. I don't wish to "waste more page space", but I feel that it's best that we're clear on which of us has the better claim to squandering this precious resource.

Well, I agree with you that fingerprints are a better means of identification. But since passports - which you seemed implicitly to approve of, by discounting their significance - already require an image of your face, not your fingers, that leaves me very confused as to what your point is. If your a point is comprehensible to such as I, I mean. It would seem to someone of my limited understanding that collecting fingerprints would offer more protection to the Ordinary Decent Indian than photographs, which as you so wisely point out, are a poor means of identification.

I'm clearly missing something here. Perhaps you could use shorter words next time, fastest of fast friends?

Re:Pros... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705254)

> Can you explain the difference, in terms of privacy concerns, between an image of your fingerprints and an image of your face?

You could have networks of cameras which can read faces, and then look up that person's identity and flag them immediately to the authorities. You can go fishing for people, and you'd get some false hits, which would be inconvenient if you look like a terrorist.

Fingerprints should uniquely identify you, but can't be used as above.

Re:Pros... (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704988)

The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens

Until it starts doing it. Your trust in government is overwhelming. Have you ever been to India?

Re:Pros... (1)

Suhas (232056) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705188)

The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens

The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, yet.
There, fixed that for you.

Re:Pros... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704916)

WTF are you posting about? Mods, check the parent! From the link YOU posted:

The Indian Constitution does not expressly have a clause guaranteeing privacy.

Re:Pros... (2, Informative)

crazyvas (853396) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704922)

BS. It's not guaranteed by the Constitution. It was a decision made by the Supreme court. HUGE difference.

Re:Pros... (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705122)

A decision that interpreted the constitution and brought privacy within the ambit of "The right to life"

Re:Pros... (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705322)

Are you talking about the US or India? If you're talking about the US, this would easily fall under that whole 4th ammendment thing: I have the right to protection from unreasonable searches and/or confinement. Taking my fingerprints when I have done nothing and without my consent is a violation of my person no different than walking into my house uninvited and without warrant.

Re:Pros... (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705336)

you probably haven't seen indian police stations.

In rural ares they are a building with the most hi-tech equipment being a half dented radio used for comunication and dispatch. some will have a telephone.

In more modern areas they may have a 386 with win95 running on it, and very unlikely any kind of networking. so i wouldn't worry about police using the data for a few decades to come. CBI (think Indian FBI) on the other hand may be in a better position to make use of this data.

Re:Pros... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704864)

How? How do fingerprints help track what percentage of children go to school? Is I understand it, fingerprints help track _which_ kids go to school. The statistics could be calculated from any old census (and school) data.

I'm sure the "how to allocate aid to impoverished regions with fingerprints" explanation will be even more interesting, right?

Re:Pros... (1)

doishmere (1587181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704872)

The statistics could be calculated from any old census (and school) data.

Well, that's just it -- this is an improvement on the collection method. I'm not suggesting schools have fingerprint readers at schools, I'm merely stating that this method will likely produce more accurate census data, which could then be used for any of the reasons mentioned.

Re:Pros... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705742)

They don't have enough fingerprint scanners, ergo they'll go the cheap route: cut-off everyone's hands.

National ID card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704712)

They plan to use those prints in a National ID card .... i still wonder will my prints be safe?

Re:National ID card (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704770)

From?

Re:National ID card (1)

ergean (582285) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704806)

From the government, silly!

Easy to solve (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704716)

Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

Simple - don't tell them you're from the Indian census bureau. Tell them you're from Facebook.in, and they'll fight over who can give you their blood and other bodily fluids first.

Re:Easy to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704744)

You want some of my bodily fluids? Be careful it's spicy

Re:Easy to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704910)

our precious bodily fluids?

It's not as bad as Thailand... (2, Informative)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704722)

I heard something about how, in Thailand, they're including blood samples in their census. Yup, the news was just talking about how the citizens are pretty much taking their blood right to the steps of the capitol...

April fools! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704736)

Right? ...oh

Just thinking.... (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704758)

I know this is tin foil talk and all but how hard would it be for other countries to take census forms and check them for finger prints?

Re:Just thinking.... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705000)

Quite difficult. Many countries require that you be charged with criminal offence(read: high-level crime which jail is the end result) of some kind before your fingerprints be taken in any form, or recorded in any database for any purpose. In my small neck of the woods, fingerprinting for anything else is considered a violation of the law.

Even then, your fingerprints can be removed from the database if you're cleared of the charges.

Re:Just thinking.... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705376)

> take census forms and check them for finger prints?

How would you determine whose prints are on any given form?

In the first place, there's not a one-to-one relationship between people and forms, since most people live in a household with other people. If there were one form per person, that would lead to a much less accurate census, because more people would decide not to bother.

Even if somehow magically there were a form for every person, you still don't have any way to know whose fingerprints are on it. About a third of the population does not fill out ANY of their own paperwork, ever. They don't file their own taxes, fill out their own applications for government "assistance" (i.e., handouts), don't fill out their own census, ... don't do ANY of their own paperwork.

Young people get their mothers to do all that stuff for them (yes, even if their mothers live in a different town). Old people get their kids to do it, or their neighbors, or that nice lady at the library, or anyone else they think they can talk into it. Disabled people get their aides to do it all for them. Some people feel they're too busy for such menial things and just pay somebody to do all their paperwork. Others are afraid to try because they don't know how because they've never done it before, so they whine and plead and beg until someone takes pity on them and just does it. Some people just take it for granted that you always get somebody to do that stuff for you, because that's what their parents always did. Some people can't read (about ten times as many people as will admit it). And of course some people are just lazy. There are a lot of reasons, but they all add up.

The long and short of it is, you can't assume that the fingerprints on the form belong to any of the people whose names are on the form. They very well might not.

As an Indian citizen (5, Interesting)

Kream (78601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704768)

Makes sense to point out here 2 crucial differences between the US and India.
In India, there's no Right to Privacy as strongly guaranteed under the US Constitution. Secondly, there is a strongly articulated bundle of rights called the "Right to Life". This includes the right to food, education, access to free / subsidised health services etc. In India, there are massive government programmes for the provision of basic services (food, shelter, education, irrigation, water, electricity, transport etc) to citizens.

In this context, the people, rather than being wary of the state and treating it like an enemy as is the case in the US actually want the state to help them. If you were to provide an Indian farmer with irrigation, access to primary healthcare facilities, water, sanitation, education and drought/flood relief, most would gladly fork over their private details.

Of course, modern states are brutal and the information collected will no doubt be used to casually repress people and tighten the state's hold on them. However, the integrity of your DNA fingerprint is of little consequence if you've committed suicide [wikipedia.org] because of mounting debts.

Re:As an Indian citizen (5, Interesting)

Kream (78601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704780)

One point to note here is that unlike the US, democracy works in India in the sense that there is a true multi-party system and a plethora of actual contenders from power, from the far left (Communist Party of India - Marxist) to the far right (Shiv Sena) (Army of Shiva) and the people have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to consign parties to oblivion permanently if they don't serve public interests.

Re:As an Indian citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705148)

There's a fundamental problem, the vast majority is illiterate and _it's a democracy_ that spells screwed right there. Plus "vote according to their interests" is construed as who gave them a higher reservation for college admissions or government jobs as opposed to any real long term benefit.

Re:As an Indian citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705700)

There's a fundamental problem, the vast majority is illiterate

Actually about 2/3 of the population is literate.

Re:As an Indian citizen (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704912)

Already posted this here once, but looks like you didn't read the earlier comments.

The Indian constitution does guarantee privacy and the courts have always upheld this principle [bhagwad.com] .

In fact from what I understand, the US has less privacy controls [umkc.edu] in their constitution than India does.

Re:As an Indian citizen (2, Informative)

Kream (78601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705034)

Bhagwad, you're wrong. I am in fact a lawyer and while Kharak Singh did mention the right to privacy in 1963, that right has scarcely been upheld or even enforced subsequently. Particularly in this day and age where, for example, ALL people renting houses in metros and ALL domestic servants in metros have to register themselves, their lease deeds and particulars with the state, the right to privacy as it is understood in the US is nonexistent here. Your links to your own blog notwithstanding.

Re:As an Indian citizen (3, Informative)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705118)

It has been upheld. As recently as 2009, the Delhi HC used privacy as a reason [privacyinternational.org] for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

To quote from the Delhi High Court:
"In the Indian Constitution, the right to live with dignity and the right of privacy both are recognised as dimensions of Article 21"

To quote again:
"It is not within the constitutional competence of the State to invade the privacy of citizens lives or regulate conduct to which the citizen alone is concerned"

How much stronger does this need to be stated before it's recognized that Indian courts protect privacy within the legal framework?

Recently the Supreme Court said that pre marital sex was no one else's business. The foundation for that is is a strong ideal of privacy.

Also, lease agreements do not need to be [legalserviceindia.com] registered if it's less than a year. Can you tell me in exactly which way the US looks at privacy differently?

Re:As an Indian citizen (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704946)

I think you're missing the most crucial difference, which is that the US is not actually a state.

Regardless, the right to privacy is not really "strongly" guaranteed by the US constitution. In fact it is not specifically mentioned at all. It is protected along with all other un-enumerated rights by the 9th amendment. The right to pee standing up is equally as protected.

The rights protected by the US constitution are only negative rights. Positive rights such as food and shelter and education are not included, mostly because as I mentioned the US is not a state but also because positive rights are dumb and tend to require contradictions, conflict, corruption, classification and slavery and whatnot.

Re:As an Indian citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704968)

In India, there's no Right to Privacy as strongly guaranteed under the US Constitution.

Nonsense again. The US Constitution says NOTHING about a right to privacy, let alone a "strong guarantee." Educate yourself first. Just fucking google it. Takes 2 seconds. http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html#privacy [usconstitution.net]

Re:As an Indian citizen (3, Informative)

Kream (78601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705062)

Well, there's no right to privacy explicitly defined but the 4th amendment and court decisions have, read together, promoted the right of individual citizens to keep their data private from the state. secondly, there exist robust laws limiting data access and retention, which dont exist in india at all. I erred in saying explicitly that the right to privacy was guaranteed under the us constitution, but my meaning, that it is strongly upheld in the US still stands.

Re:As an Indian citizen (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705402)

In India, there's no Right to Privacy as strongly guaranteed under the US Constitution.

There is no such explicit right to privacy in the American Constitution:

The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information. In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the "enumeration of certain rights" in the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people." The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments.

The question of whether the Constitution protects privacy in ways not expressly provided in the Bill of Rights is controversial. Many originalists, including most famously Judge Robert Bork in his ill-fated Supreme Court confirmation hearings, have argued that no such general right of privacy exists. The Supreme Court, however, beginning as early as 1923 and continuing through its recent decisions, has broadly read the "liberty" guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee a fairly broad right of privacy that has come to encompass decisions about child rearing, procreation, marriage, and termination of medical treatment. Polls show most Americans support this broader reading of the Constitution. The Right of Privacy [umkc.edu]

Re:As an Indian citizen (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705728)

The US and Indian consitutions are basically the same with respect to privacy. Neither mention it, neither declare it as a right. Both declare other rights which the "right to privacy" has been derived from by their courts.

Chinese Census? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704774)

Uhh I recall watching a video in middle school (a 15 years ago??) about the 1990 Chinese Census of 2 billion people, with an error rate of less than 1%. I would say it is roughly twice as large as India's "the biggest exercise... since humankind came into existence". Maybe Indians are... ahem, larger than the Chinese in some respects?

Re:Chinese Census? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704784)

Perhaps they are measuring some biometrics they aren't letting on about?

Re:Chinese Census? (2, Informative)

Yuuki Dasu (1416345) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704920)

Uhh I recall watching a video in middle school (a 15 years ago??) about the 1990 Chinese Census of 2 billion people

That's quite a feat, given that the 2000 Chinese Census put the population of China at only 1,242,612,226 [wikipedia.org] , not much over half that.

Some census.

Re:Chinese Census? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704938)

Slightly longer, but just as thin. Maybe even thinner.

Only take 50 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704796)

Not sure how many boots will be on the ground collecting census data, but if it's 2.5 million, (and assuming they each conservatively collect data from 8 citizens a day) it would take only about 50 days to collect it from a billion of them.

Re:Only take 50 days (2, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704866)

Maybe they'll outsource it?

OT: Please save your opinion for the comments (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704808)

When making a submission, please summarize the facts, and if you have opinions about it, reply in a comment as we common folks do. Your opinion isn't above ours. Thank you.

Re:OT: Please save your opinion for the comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705372)

Your opinion isn't above ours. Thank you.

Yes it is; that's what you're complaining about.

Depends on who they outsource it to... (0)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704816)

:D

Why doubt everything that comes from India? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31704820)

Why is there always a question mark on non-Indians about their ability to achieve something? I see lots of uncertainty expressed about India and Indians in forums.
I know people the electronic voting machine miserably failed in the US, for instance. Still they have not got it right. In India, they have been using electronic voting system for a long time now. I know the kind of spending they do in the US to achieve anything. In India, they spend 100 times lesser to achieve the same thing. The US does not know efficiency! It's all extravagant. The quality revolution in the US, which started after Japan's, is itself a testimonial to their being historically inefficient. I have nothing against anyone, jsut do not always doubt others.

You may be a human being, an animal that can be as intelligent as possible. But, frogs and rodents are more intelligent when it comes to predicting earthquakes.

Re:Why doubt everything that comes from India? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705086)

Why doubt everything that comes from India?

Indian technical people?

I mean, sure, there are some good ones and it's really not a place of origin thing at all, but there seems to be a lot of mediocre Indian technical people around at the moment, and it makes everyone sensitive to all of India's flaws.

It's possibly something do with the quality of education, cultural attitude and social background of recent immigrants, but damn: 'is it?' is not an intelligent thing to say.

Sounds good. (1)

Cantus (582758) | more than 3 years ago | (#31704964)

Sounds like a good idea to use the Census to register people. Most civilized countries have a civil registry which includes a photo and fingerprints.

Paper?? Why? (1)

c0le (1326757) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705090)

The twin census and population register processes will stretch over 11 months, consume 11.63 million tonnes of paper and cost 60 billion rupees (1.25 billion dollars)

Why not use electronic means? Shyte. My name is going to be spelt wrong, AGAIN. :(

Caste system (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705252)

Wonder what the implications are for a country that creates under- and over-privilege through a genetically-driven caste system.

There are probably a lot of people who would prefer to remain anonymous lest someone discover they are not of as high a status as they pretend to be.

duh (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705294)

Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

Lots of these [staples.co.uk]
Might be expensive, though.

But on a serious note, it should be interesting to see, after 1 billion fingerprints (about 1/6 of the world population) are gathered, whether the assumption that they're unique is still valid.

This should be easy (2, Funny)

dup_account (469516) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705346)

"Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise."

Come on, this is India, the country we trust all our IT development work to. If a country has the abilities, it should be India.

Argh. (2, Funny)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705650)

Wonder how effective — and how powerful — the exercise will turn out to be for the country. Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

Am also struggling to form complete sentences.

HOw will it happen ? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#31705924)

Some states have their BMV pictures in a database now, whats a bit of extra data ( the fingerprint )? Storing is easy, its mining the data that is hard. ( and these days, not all that hard )

Silver Lining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31705972)

There may be a Silver Lining to this. Depending on how its used, with such a large dataset it may give us an idea of how inaccurate/accurate fingerprint identification is. Law enforcement, the keepers of the largest biometric databases, have always been very tighliped about false positives using their own databases. If for example the fingerprint database is used for a first line identification* with no secondaries** you could start to get an idea of the false positive rate based on the number of complaints of incorrect identifications in any one office (preferably a larger office for a better dataset) They might even let scientists into an anomized version of the DB to run cross comparisons, like they were trying to do with the FBI DNA database before they were shut out for "security" reasons (buwahahahahahaaa) even in the face of court orders.

*walk into office where you have an apointment, place finger on pad, sit down and wait your turn
**ID Numbers, Names, ect

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