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India's Billion User Biometric Odyssey

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the scan-me dept.

Government 81

mask.of.sanity writes "A bold new biometric identity system is being deployed across India in a bid to combat rampant welfare fraud. The mammoth system will collect the iris and fingerprint records on a voluntary basis of every one of India's 1.2 billion men, women and children. The Aadhaar project runs three trillion biometric identity matches every day — all on a small data center of commodity blade servers."

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4 years too old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033325)

Why is this news? This project started 4 years ago and is full of bugs and half ass procedures.

Re:4 years too old (4, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45033335)

If you read down into the article you will see the court aspect that is news :)
"On Sunday"....."successfully petitioned the Supreme Court in that country to restrain moves by state governments to make Aadhaar mandatory for public services."
As linked, more at:
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/aadhaar-infringes-on-our-fundamental-right-to-privacy/article5182765.ece [thehindu.com]

Re:4 years too old (1, Troll)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#45034457)

This project started 4 years ago and is full of bugs and half ass procedures.

It's another classical example for the Chodorov Principle:

a) Government program A: mammoth welfare system;
b) Problem X caused by program A: rampant fraud;
c) Government program B for trying to solve problem X: mammoth biometric identity system;
d) Problem Y caused by program B: bugs, half ass procedure, political manipulation;
e) Government program C for trying to solve problem Y: throw more money at it, generalize it, make it mandatory hoping it'll start working as intended any time now;
f) Problem Z caused by program C: loss of privacy, identity fraud;
g) Government program D for trying to solve problem Z: ?

The Chodorov Principle [mises.org] reads thus:

"For every social problem A caused by government program X, problem A can be solved by abolishing program X."

Re:4 years too old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45035561)

Frank Chodorov (February 15, 1887 – December 28, 1966) was an American member of the Old Right, a group of libertarian thinkers who were non-interventionist in foreign policy and opposed both the American entry into World War II and the New Deal. He was called by Ralph Raico "the last of the Old Right greats."

Hardly someone I'd be proud to quote. Got some Ayn Rand for us, too? Rush Limbaugh?

Re:4 years too old (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#45035883)

Got some Ayn Rand for us, too? Rush Limbaugh?

By conflating classic liberals with objectivists and either with neo-conservatives you show ignorance about the three groups. This is the exact equivalent of a right-winger wondering whether that left-wing movement over there is of the "anarchic social-democrat marxism" type and if the guy he's talking to "got some Bakunin or Michael Moore" to go with that.

Re:4 years too old (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#45035967)

Right, lots of problems go away via the magic of large-scale famine and death. Once the poorest half billion people in India die off, all will be well. The bodies can be used for fertilizer to improve food security or burned for heat in the winter.

Re:4 years too old (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#45036153)

Right, lots of problems go away via the magic of large-scale famine and death. Once the poorest half billion people in India die off, all will be well. The bodies can be used for fertilizer to improve food security or burned for heat in the winter.

Which is what happened in all the previous centuries and millennia when no welfare system existed, what explains why no Indians exist nowadays, since they all died about 10,000 years ago. Right?

Re:4 years too old (1)

Mullen (14656) | about a year ago | (#45037075)

No, but a shit ton of them died. Indian famines and starvations are on a large scale, well into the millions of people dead. Putting 2.2% of their GDP to prevent this, sounds like a wise investment.

Re:4 years too old (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#45037439)

Putting 2.2% of their GDP to prevent this, sounds like a wise investment.

On a purely pragmatic level I'll have to agree. However, more often than not there's no concept of "investment" involved. Politicians see welfare programs as a way to construct a captive voter base and as such do all they want to keep that people dependent on them rather than modeling them as the intermediate step they should be.

As Ronald Reagan once said, "We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.", a metric by which most if not all of such programs reveal themselves as the utter and complete failures they are.

Re:4 years too old (1)

jtollefson (1675120) | about a year ago | (#45038209)

Why do I never have moderator points when I need them! Well said... and in regards to the investment reply. I understand what you're saying, but, the greatest investment a country can make is an investment that raises the standards of human life.

If they can reduce the fraud which will in turn allow them to place that money into much needed hands or re-appropriate that money into making lives better... Well, I don't think it matters how many people it actually gets off of welfare, it's stitching the gash vs. cleaning the scrape.

Re:4 years too old (1)

asliarun (636603) | about a year ago | (#45038633)

No, but a shit ton of them died. Indian famines and starvations are on a large scale, well into the millions of people dead. Putting 2.2% of their GDP to prevent this, sounds like a wise investment.

A noble thought, and one that is bandied around by the ruling party as well (the Congress). The problem is the extent of corruption. Rajiv Gandhi, ironically the ruler of the same party, said that for every rupee spent on social welfare, only 10 paise (a tenth) reaches the poor.

That was a couple of decades ago, and arguably, corruption in India has increased 10 fold.

So the problem you state is very real. However, the solution (i.e. money spent on social welfare) is farcical.
Most of the money comes back to the senior members of the ruling party so it is in their self interest to put even more money in social welfare.

Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033345)

This was rolled out 2 years ago.
The intended use:
When a unique ID is issued, you can optionally associate a bank account with it. Govt. will transfer welfare benefits directly to that account, "avoiding" corruption. Many are miffed by this as they stand to lose control over, benefit distribution and there by votes.

System abuse scenario is plenty, as your iris scan, finger prints(all 10) are associated with the ID.
Funnily, the ID states that this is only for identification, and not a document of citizenship.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (5, Interesting)

abhisri (960175) | about a year ago | (#45033853)

"Bid to control welfare fraud"... that is just the cover story, considering that the system is full of intentional loopholes and bugs. The real reason why the ruling congress party wants this, is due to its relying on the muslim vote bank. Muslims vote en masse in India, based on whichever party is promising more benefits to them, but as of yet muslim citizens of India are a minority in the country.
 

Congress is trying to change this by using this scheme as a backdoor method of providing legitimate identity papers(and thus citienship) to millions of illegal muslim immigrants from neighbouring bangladesh and thus inflating their vote bank. The nearest oppositional rival party BJP has a more pro-hindu stance.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (1, Informative)

bayankaran (446245) | about a year ago | (#45035581)

Congress is trying to change this by using this scheme as a backdoor method of providing legitimate identity papers(and thus citienship) to millions of illegal muslim immigrants from neighbouring bangladesh and thus inflating their vote bank. The nearest oppositional rival party BJP has a more pro-hindu stance.

You made the most illogical and idiotic reasoning against AADHAR.

Do you know how many illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are in India and where? Do you think even if all of them were given citizenship and free beer, they will even make 0.05% dent to the number of voters in an Indian constituency?

There might be sensible arguments against AADHAR - what you made is flaming racist xenophobic nonsense.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (2)

abhisri (960175) | about a year ago | (#45035775)

Do you know how many illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are in India and where?
 

Your indignant vitroil and personal attacks aside, cannot answer where, but majority of them are located in slums in Delhi and Mumbai and other various major cities, and quite a few all over India. How many? As per census difference extrapolation and media reports the number is anywhere between 2 million to 20 million...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_in_India#Bangladeshi_immigrants [wikipedia.org]

Do you think even if all of them were given citizenship and free beer, they will even make 0.05% dent to the number of voters in an Indian constituency?

If congress moves these across to certain key constituencies to rig the election there, hell yes. You could pretty much block the opposition key candidates from even clearing the election. Like I said muslims vote en masse, unlike hindus.

I am not commenting on the feasibility of this strategy. But this IS what congress is attempting. Here are the various media reports btw..

http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/illegal-bangladeshis--pan-out-in-india-to-cement-their-aadhar.html [dailypioneer.com]

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-14/news/35820254_1_aadhar-cards-bangladeshi-intruders-bjp-leader [indiatimes.com]

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/15-illegal-Bangladeshi-migrants-held-one-with-Aadhaar-card/Article1-988057.aspx [hindustantimes.com]

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/aadhaar-cards-supreme-court-uidai-illegal-immigrants-anil-divan/1/311349.html [intoday.in]

All of above are very respected and established news medias in India. Not sure if they are flaming racist xenophobic.

Now, you were saying?...

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (0)

bayankaran (446245) | about a year ago | (#45036225)

  • An AADHAR card does not allow anyone to vote in an election.

    You are more than racist and xenophobic...you are also a total idiot!!!

    Like I said muslims vote en masse, unlike hindus.

    That takes the cake as far as argument goes.

    You are also saying Congress has this agenda to to give AADHAR cards to slum dwellers in Mumbai and Delhi who are supposedly Bangladeshi immigrants - and gets an advantage in the coming elections.

    What a crazy right wing propaganda? What next - Indian Christians are actually Italians in disguise?

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45042165)

What he is saying is like, you can get papers to back up claim of being a citizen. He seems to be backing it with links and data that you requested. All you are going like is "I don't believe the wiki and newspaper reports!!! no no! It cannot be true".
You are the biggest idiot on slashdot! Seriously! They don't come any stupider than you. Post some links proving his links wrong, or shut the hell up!

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45035671)

Aadhar can only be used to identify yourself - and so you can apply for it even if you are a non-citizen, non-resident-indian etc.

As a proof of identity, you can use it in places where you identify needs to be verified - for example at a voter's booth, to apply for your passport etc. So while you can use your Aadhar card to identify yourself at the voting booth, you won't be allowed to vote unless your name appears in the voter's list. To appear on the voter's list, you have to be a citizen. So all of this discussion about this being a backdoor method to get muslim votes is not true.

Aadhar can also be used as a proof of identify but NOT citizenship when you apply for a passport.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45035999)

Sometime ago congress was claiming this scheme was "voluntary". See how fast that got changed, with their making it "mandatory" for gas connection subsidies etc. etc,? Can you guarantee that Rules cannot be changed next year to accept Aadhar as prood of citizenship? Are you a illegal muslim immigrant?

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45037067)

in the process of appeasing Bangladeshi immigrants, if other institutions can intervene / partcipate and reduce corruption, i say, get some more bangladeshis.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034305)

Do they identify based on smell? Feces vs BO levels in the odour.

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#45035881)

The one metric that is nearly impossible to duplicate is the Colon Scan, why didn't they use that?

I can't help but wonder if isn't some 3rd world religious thing?

Re:Got mine 2 years ago, why is this news now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45036767)

Im sure that the people that are abusing the system will be the first to volunteer this type of information....

Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033383)

The basic problem TFA starts with, is too much bureaucracy, too many different systems. Many people carry four redundant forms of identification. And now, they carry five, at least for the next few years.

Worse, once this system is fully implemented and the other four are finally phased out... there's only one, with the useful property that if someone still manages to impersonate you (and they well might, there's a lot riding on the ability so they'll work something out) you've become a threat to the system and are best just kicked out. No replacement passport for you. You've become expendable.

Don't think they won't. This is a country where family members might, and occasionally do, bribe the local clerk to have you declared dead of natural causes, so they can take over your land and other belongings. Biometrics can't solve that, it can't make corruption go away, but it certainly can make problems all of its own.

And it does. Just starting with the huge databases it needs to work. We all know how the most enlightened and freedoms and liberties celebrating government of the world proved to actually treat my and your data. Now try again with a less well-paid, bigger, more corrupt government.

It's not that these people don't have good intentions. It's that they're making all the classic mistakes, from making the humans puppets of the machine, to believing they won't be corrupt, honest, to massive overreach and starry-eyed wishful thinking. With biometrics sauce to make it all the more hip and in and cool and inescapable and unfixable.

Biometrics, just say no. Also, save us from government IT.

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#45033627)

This is a country where family members might, and occasionally do, bribe the local clerk to have you declared dead of natural causes, so they can take over your land and other belongings. Biometrics can't solve that...

WTF? That's the problem biometrics were designed to solve. Say my family asserts I'm dead and goes to court to claim their rightful inheritance. I turn up, press a grimy thumb on the judges notepad and say "match that", case closed! The idea that better identification makes it easier for someone to steal your identity is pure nonsense. The reason your example scenario doesn't happen regularly in the west is precisely because we already have well established systems to uniquely identify individuals, a practice that goes at least as far back as William the Conquer and his Doomsday book [wikipedia.org]

If you don't have a reliable way to identify property owners then you can't have reliable property law. If you don't have reliable property law then you can't have capitalism. Of course, outside the west the unwashed masses often do not have any officially recognised ownership of the land they have lived on for centuries/millennia. That lack of legal recognition is the reason multi-nationals can and do buy/lease huge chunks of land from third world governments and then hire mercenaries to rid "their property" of "lawless vandals and trespassers".

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45033683)

"WTF? That's the problem biometrics were designed to solve."

Just NO. This is quite wrong.

That is the problem biometrics were INTENDED to solve. But all wishful thinking aside, so far nobody has been able to DESIGN a biometrics system that actually solves it.

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45033767)

That is the problem biometrics were INTENDED to solve. But all wishful thinking aside, so far nobody has been able to DESIGN a biometrics system that actually solves it.

Nirvana fallacy [wikipedia.org]

Just because it doesn't solve the problem 100% doesn't mean it isn't damn useful.

I'm not saying it isn't evil, but in India it may be the lesser of two evils.

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034159)

Oh wow, you found a label to put on a box and stuff the other guy's argument in. Congratulations!

The thing is that biometrics are indeed touted as being the nirvana, then failing to live up to the promises, and the drawbacks then turn out to be worse than the cure. So if there's a fallacy, it's not in the argument against.

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45035837)

"Nirvana fallacy"

Nirvana ASSUMPTION. You read more into it than what I actually wrote.

My point wasn't whether it was useful or not. I was criticizing GP for confusing "designed" with "intended".

The fact is that biometrics is a woefully flawed science. As someone else pointed out here, no matter how well "designed", biometrics is actually a "username", not a "password". So no matter how well intended, OR how well designed, the concept is fundamentally flawed and can never work completely as intended.

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (0)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year ago | (#45034665)

How about, "Family gets corrupt sys admin to substitute the prints of a recently washed-up corpse in place of yours in this magic, perfect system. Your prints get linked with an known terrorist." What's going to happen when you scan your thumb in front of the judge again?

Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038325)

Anon because I dont want the government officials to show up on my parents' door slapping cases for trumped up charges

Say my family asserts I'm dead and goes to court to claim their rightful inheritance
Actually no...You bribe the government officers who issue a death cert, and then take the death cert to property registrar and bank to grab everything...

  I turn up, press a grimy thumb on the judges notepad and say "match that"
No...you first need to file suit, then get a court date...Then the courts will send you to a gov body that will certify that it is indeed your thumb. The gov officer will ask you for 15% of the your money that has been usurped that you stand to win back...But he will want the money upfront. He will then go to your usurper family members and make a counter offer of failing your certification if they paid him 30%. Depending on who bids the highest, the certification will be done. Assuming you got to swing it your way, you then go to the court, on a date which is months away, only to find that the respondents have requested postponed because they are hospitalized, The hospitalization is also fake by the way, where the government doctor gave your usurper bro a cardiac arrest on the morning of court hearing. This keeps dallying for years. In 17 - 20 years, you will finally be able to prove that you are actually alive. Your usurper bro can then appeal the decision in the high court and buy another 17 years...and then appeal to the supreme court to buy another 17 years... You will be dead by that time...

The reason corruption is so rampant in India because the justice system crawls and is abused and subverted by the powers that be. Recently, the supreme court ruled that convicted legislators stand disqualified...What the gov did ? Draft a bill that makes it legal for convicted legislators to hold on to their seats.

Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45033671)

This is SERIOUSLY being discussed as just an IT issue, without any of the MASSIVE social and political issues involved?

I'll pass.

Re:Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#45033723)

Yes, we are very interested in the forum you decide to use to discuss each and every angle on every piece of news you encounter on the internet.

Feel free to present all that useful information in spreadsheet form.

Re:Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45035983)

"Yes, we are very interested in the forum you decide to use to discuss each and every angle on every piece of news you encounter on the internet."

They key word in my post above was "just".

Re:Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033871)

This is SERIOUSLY being discussed as just an IT issue, without any of the MASSIVE social and political issues involved?

You're saying it like this is the biggest social and political issue that the Indians face. I'd think that between gang rapes on buses, twitchy neighbor with nukes, religious violence, and general lack of freedom of expression and speech especially on religious issues, the Indians have a bigger fish to fry.

Re:Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#45034059)

Actually, I'd say the welfare-poverty problem in India is bigger than all those issues, yes.

Re:Massive Scale of Yet More Stupidity. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45035897)

"You're saying it like this is the biggest social and political issue that the Indians face."

No, I wasn't saying it "like" that at all. I was just saying that it is AN issue.

Illegal and Invalid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033395)

In reality, Aadhar project is illegal, unconstitutional and not the best way.
Mostly these cards and identity were used to convert illegal immigrants into legal ones.

It was also used to create vote bank and a huge corruption for distributing these projects.

If you really see the system, entire process of biometric capturing was totally wrong and in several cases, it was mapped to wrong people, several people could not give their finger print (especially old people).

Re:Illegal and Invalid (-1, Troll)

muphin (842524) | about a year ago | (#45033421)

when did India get a "Constitution"?

Re:Illegal and Invalid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033459)

Are you really a moron, or do you just play one on the internet?

Re:Illegal and Invalid (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033607)

when did India get a "Constitution"?

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says:

The Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950.

Re:Illegal and Invalid (2)

GingerTea (2800525) | about a year ago | (#45034969)

Mostly these cards and identity were used to convert illegal immigrants into legal ones

Aadhar is just a proof of identity, not of citizenship. It cannot be used for making illegal immigrants legal.

Re:Illegal and Invalid (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45038967)

my are you naive. money in india can make most anything illegal to be legal. if you are of upper caste, in many places you have the simpler option of just killing lower caste to get your way.

Re:Illegal and Invalid (1)

GingerTea (2800525) | about 10 months ago | (#45058391)

if you are of upper caste, in many places you have the simpler option of just killing lower caste to get your way.

Looks like someone time travelled directly from 1930 :-) . Yes i agree that such things happen now also in some parts of India, but they are more of an exception than the norm. Anyways this argument doesn't apply to illegal immigrats.. most of them do not fall under the upper cast -lower cast hierarchy of India

Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45033397)

This system is guaranteed to fail. As I understand it, the problem it is meant to address is welfare fraud - criminals collecting the welfare of the poor for themselves.

Best case, this works for a year or two as the criminals figure out how to spoof the biometrics. Maybe local gangsters force the poor people to give up their biometrics - take their prints and photos of their irises and then use copies (ala the recent iphone hack and the similar spoof via a photograph of the original iris). If the scanners at the welfare locations are manned, they just need to bribe the guy manning them into letting them use the spoofs. Undoubtedly the guy manning the system is going to be some low-paid peon anyway.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (1)

philovivero (321158) | about a year ago | (#45033633)

Wow. This needs to be modded up for the subject line, if nothing else. That's the best short analogy I've ever seen.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45033691)

Agree. Insightful indeed.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45033867)

I stole it from this guy. [dustinkirkland.com]

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033689)

The problem in india isn't the gangs as much as just the endemic corruption. The poor people in this case are the problem.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#45033981)

From what I remember from talking to some people working on it, it's common for many men in India to have multiple families and collect welfare for them, or collect it more than once. Even when this was first in place, apparently some had registered once with each eye. These could just be stories, but it's what I heard.

You got it wrong... (4, Informative)

bayankaran (446245) | about a year ago | (#45033995)

If you are saying Biometric systems are not foolproof from a security perspective I agree. But if you extrapolate that to "biometric data used in Aadhar will make the scheme fail" - then you have no clue whatsoever about the existing system and how Aadhar uses biometric data.

AADHAR replaces the existing archaic mostly pen and paper 19th century PDS models - Public Distribution Systems - usually through 'Ration Cards' - to deploy benefits.

There will be some amount of fraud in any system which is used widespread. People lose their identity in the West. Social Security Numbers or Social Insurance numbers are misplaced or stolen or identity hijacked. But for all practical purposes they work as intended Your social security card is only a piece of green paper with your name and number...the number is your username. And you do not need a password.

The Aadhar number is only a username. The photo of the person, the address together with biometric data are added. It is for identification, not to swipe and open a door!

For the AADHAR system in India, the intentions and purposes of using biometric data is not security, but identification. And identification works on different levels, biometrics is only one of them. There is no village / town / city in India where you present a photo ID and a machine scans it and gives you benefits - there is a person behind the counter. Thats the first step. There are other checks and balances.

Still, local rowdies might abuse the system. Some corrupt officials might misuse their powers and try to pocket the proceeds. But this is a change which the country needed.

(As a side note: Most states in India give 25 kilos of rice to a family of four for Rs 1 a kilo - something like 0.016 cents a kilo - to anyone belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders. Some of the rice returns to the market when the BPL card holders sell the extra to local shops or hotels. No system can stop this nonsense!)

Re:You got it wrong... (1)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#45034145)

Course they can. Dye the rice.

Re:You got it wrong... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45034219)

If you are saying Biometric systems are not foolproof from a security perspective I agree. But if you extrapolate that to "biometric data used in Aadhar will make the scheme fail" - then you have no clue whatsoever about the existing system and how Aadhar uses biometric data.

So you are claiming that the intent of the system is not to combat fraud but to simply replace an old paper-based identification (not authentication) system? That's not at all what I remember reading about the system a few years back when they were trying to justify it.

There is no village / town / city in India where you present a photo ID and a machine scans it and gives you benefits - there is a person behind the counter. Thats the first step. There are other checks and balances.

Yeah, so now you are talking authentication, but all you've done is mention a human in the loop, which I already addressed in my original post. Perhaps you could elaborate on these additional "checks and balances" (which is not a term that I think even applies to a welfare system, what is being balanced?)

Re:You got it wrong... (2)

bayankaran (446245) | about a year ago | (#45035503)

So you are claiming that the intent of the system is not to combat fraud but to simply replace an old paper-based identification (not authentication) system? That's not at all what I remember reading about the system a few years back when they were trying to justify it.

Yes, one of the ideas behind the new system is "preventing fraud" - but its more than biometric data. "Preventing fraud" in the new AADHAR system does not equate to verifying identity using biometric data.

For example, the new system will make sure subsidies are doled out. Meaning - if you have a bank account connected to your AADHAR number unless the government goes belly up the money will be credited. In the early system it depended on other extraneous factors - "application in triplicate", deadlines, thumb impressions, signatures for each and every benefit. This is an inherently messy system ripe for abuse.

AADHAR may not be the silver bullet, but its a step in the right direction. As with any data collection system there is a chance for NSA type snooping. Right now, lets not worry about that. Indian democracy works in a different way.

Yeah, so now you are talking authentication, but all you've done is mention a human in the loop, which I already addressed in my original post. Perhaps you could elaborate on these additional "checks and balances" (which is not a term that I think even applies to a welfare system, what is being balanced?)

Your original post was at best a strawman..."biometrics, help, ripe for abuse, failure" and all that nonsense. That is why I replied.

The checks and balances are many in India, Indian bureaucracy is good for that.

Widespread abuse of AADHAR card will not work. the concept of AADHAR card is based on our electoral system using our Election voting identity cards which has a photo, name, date of birth and stuff similar to your drivers license. The reason Indian democracy works is because with my voting card, only I can vote in the constituency I am registered as a voter. Are there abuses...yes, but they are minor and the Indian system is much more cleaner and robus than the "hanging chad", "targeted profiling of minority voters so that they have difficulty in voting in certain areas" systems of USA. (We cannot compare India with any other country - China is bigger, but not a democracy, USA is the closest, with 1/3rd of the population.)

AADHAR card works similar. Individual skimming might happen. But for an undesirable to collect hundreds of AADHAR cards with fake identifications, start bank accounts with fake identifications and then bribe the concerned bureaucrats to funnel the subsidies - well, I guess even a die hard criminal is not that stupid. The checks and balances - meaning some type of monitoring and prevention of abuse methodologies in place, can be applied to any system - start with AADHAR card itself...it has a photo (forget about biometrics), it has age, gender and an address. Then you have a bank account - its not easy to start a bank account with fake documents in India. It goes like that.

Today an important Indian politician - Laloo Prasad Yadav - was sentenced for four years for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fodder_Scam [wikipedia.org] "Fodder Scam". This scam might not have happened in such a large scale with a better system.

Here is a car analogy...blaming AADHAR card for using biometric data is like blaming TESLA cars for its stereo quality, not the fact the batteries might explode.

Re:You got it wrong... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#45036439)

So you are claiming that the intent of the system is not to combat fraud but to simply replace an old paper-based identification (not authentication) system? That's not at all what I remember reading about the system a few years back when they were trying to justify it.

It's a bit more ambitious than that. It's to give EVERYONE an ID "card". Estimates vary but it's easily around 50% or more don't (usually people in the rural villages and such who are the ones who need the assistance, but don't get it).

In India, not everyone has an ID card, and thus even the paper based system doesn't work (the person doesn't exist, literally).

This system is in effect one of the first censuses done on the entire country - and to provide ID numbers to everyone so they can access services.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (3, Informative)

bain_online (580036) | about a year ago | (#45034531)

Well you got it wrong.

Currently the ration card system we have is you buy your subsidized stuff (food, fuel) at govt stores and govt pays the trader. Huge chance of fraud and corruption.

What adhar allows is even poor to have an unique identity (UID) verified by the govt. This very improtnantly enables them to get a bank account linked to your UID which is impossible today for the nomads and the below poverty line people since they don't have passports or driving licenses.

The next stage of the process is that the poor now buy their food on open market and govt directly deposits all the subsidies available diectly to their adhar linked bank account. All the middle men are trashed and window of corruption is a LOT less. Also there is electronic paper trail should a fraud occur. And yes there will be fraud since nothing in the world is full proof and completely secure. But its leps and bounds better than what is going on today.

Re:Biometrics are usernames, not passwords (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45039861)

The next stage of the process is that the poor now buy their food on open market and govt directly deposits all the subsidies available diectly to their adhar linked bank account.

There must be more to it than that. How does the welfare recipient authenticate to the merchant? What's to stop a clerk at a merchant from duplicating the information the customer provides to authenticate? Seems like a point in the system where one individual could quite easily scoop up thousands of authenticators that could be used for all kinds of fraud.

Who is responsible for fraudulent debits? The bank or the account owner? I'll bet 10:1 it is the owner, these no-frills accounts don't have enough margin to cover any significant amount of fraud, which means it won't take much to discourage people from opening accounts if they think it means they are just going to lose their money anyway.

The problem here is that you guys are all taking the approach of builders rather than seeing it through the eyes of criminals. That's a terribly naive (and altogether too common) approach towards systems like these. You assume things will work as you want them to work whereas the criminals work extremely hard to make sure it won't.

Voluntary Aussies (2, Informative)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year ago | (#45033413)

... collect the iris and fingerprint records on a voluntary basis of every one of India's 1.2 billion men, women and children.

It's voluntary yet records every one of 1.2B people? Either India is the most sheep-like country ever (unlikely), or this system isn't really voluntary. Is this like voluntary income tax in USA?

The project would be a bold deployment for Australia, but for the second-most populous country in the world ...

Australia, whaaa? F- this article!

Re:Voluntary Aussies (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about a year ago | (#45033513)

voluntary as in they won't literally force you to get an id, but they will gradually make it mandatory for any interaction with the government.

Re:Voluntary Aussies (2)

Scott Ragen (3378093) | about a year ago | (#45033561)

They were just using Australia as a comparison to India, given that its an Australian website.

Re:Voluntary Aussies (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45033639)

Australia was to get an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_Card [wikipedia.org] back in the 1980's.
The later option was the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_File_Number [wikipedia.org] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check [wikipedia.org] and a neat banking tracking system from the same time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Transaction_Reports_and_Analysis_Centre [wikipedia.org]
Some countries go for an ID card, others a list of ID options and tracking :)

Re:Voluntary Aussies (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45034187)

Income tax in the US is voluntary in the sense that income tax in the UK is involuntary: you file your tax returns and square up with the government, while our taxes are calculated and settled for us. That doesn't mean that the underlying obligation to pay the taxes you are responsible for is obviated, just that you volunteer to do the work.

Re:Voluntary Aussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034293)

Yes, here (i.e. the US) you "volunteer" to do the work, or not, as the case may be. The catch being that if you don't, the IRS will eventually do it for you, and slap you with a hefty penalty for their trouble.

Re:Voluntary Aussies (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about a year ago | (#45034535)

Oh, it's completely voluntary. You voluntarily give us your biometrics or you don't get your welfare check.
Noone is forcing them to do it, just saying they don't get any food if they don't. In that same way, the
income tax is also voluntary. You are only forced to file and pay taxes if you make about a certain amount.

commodity blade servers... (1)

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) | about a year ago | (#45033447)

...nice! how technology pace invents new commodities ;-)

Are there any apps can record and play back human (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033497)

Are there any apps can record and play back human touches in mobile device?Please look at AutoTouch(http://autotouch.me)

AutoTouch is a "macro making and playing" app for Android and iOS, it's used to record and play back the human operations, it can simulate human touches and run Lua scripts, with these features it can run the scripts written beforehand to simulate different human operations and implement a variety of amazing functionalities.You may use it to play games automatically to gain more scores and coins, or test your program with nobody, or do the photo editing repeatedly, or redial the Skype or phone number, event quick login to the email and anything else.

Tech details (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033605)

They are able to scan 1M people in one day(!), so it takes over 3 years to scan all 1200M people.
One scan takes about 5 megabytes, so 1200M scans takes 6000 terabytes:
http://searchbusinessintelligence.techtarget.in/feature/Aadhaar-project-data-collection-An-interview-with-Mindtrees-CEO

Architecture details:
http://www.biometrics.org/bc2012/presentations/UIDAI/UID%20BSP%20update%20Kris%20ver%202%201040.pdf

Re:Tech details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034397)

How do they wipe the shit off of all 1200M peoples fingers to do the scan.

Voluntary on Every One. (1)

philovivero (321158) | about a year ago | (#45033631)

Yeah, that's going to happen. 1.2 billion people. Every one of them will voluntarily hand over their fingerprints and eyeprints.

Methinks either "voluntary" or "every one" is being grossly misrepresented here.

Time for me to go to my voluntary re-education classes sponsored by the Ministry of Love.

Re:Voluntary on Every One. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45033991)

"Methinks either "voluntary" or "every one" is being grossly misrepresented here."

Not at all. You, for example have to give them 'voluntarily' a specimen of your signature, which is also important and can be used to fleece you when you want a password, a driving license, a gun permit, unemployment benefits, a bank account, a marriage license and so on.

I bet you didn't think twice and you didn't ask a privacy counselor first.

Re:Voluntary on Every One. (1)

gsslay (807818) | about a year ago | (#45034319)

It's amazing how voluntary becomes compulsory if the only other option is to steadily become a non-person, with no access to anything provided in your society.

Voluntarily conform, or go live in a cave as a beach-comber.

voluntary ... every one of India's 1.2 billion (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#45033907)

That's some first-rate volunteering, that is.

Re:voluntary ... every one of India's 1.2 billion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034393)

With 33% of the population below the poverty line (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India) I'd wager at least 400M might have been Johnny-on-the-Spot to sign up, if only so they can get their welfare payments. I.e. get their welfare payments, e.g., without having to bribe someone to give them what's theirs.

In other news, 85% of the population have already signed up. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/AADHAAR) That is truly some first rate volunteering. Perhaps you need to go there and experience just how bad things can be to appreciate how much of an improvement this must be – even with its downsides. (And yes, I've been three times. Generally good experiences and some incredible historical and religious sites to see; but they can't hide the poverty, there's just too much of it.)

Re:voluntary ... every one of India's 1.2 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034419)

Oops, replying to my own post. To date about 400M have signed up. Enrollment is expected to reach 600M by 2014.

85% was just one district.

Oblig (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#45034315)

1.2 billion fingerprint in a government-controlled database. In India, for crying out fucking loud. What could possibly go fucking wrong ?

Re:Oblig (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about a year ago | (#45036457)

When Adobe was compromised they just got credit card numbers and source code. When this system is cracked the users will lose their eyes and fingers.

Voluntary and All (2)

Guru80 (1579277) | about a year ago | (#45034347)

Not sure you can voluntarily collect ALL without "making an offer he can't refuse"

One of the great social projects going currently (2)

Zubinix (572981) | about a year ago | (#45035127)

This project is life changing for a billion people. By the end of the decade and into the next decade its effect on Indian society and the economy will become clearly visible. Such projects have great challanges to overcome and there will be some cases of fraud but it will be on a substantially smaller scale than currently happens.

Re:One of the great social projects going currentl (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45038983)

of course, devolving into a police state with government tracking every minute detail of the citizens lives to have absolute control over them is not a possible outcome

Amazing but nothing new (1)

lordbyron (38382) | about a year ago | (#45041627)

400 million are enrolled with 25 million enrolled last month alone. The program is radically changing the distribution of benefits to many people who were promised them but never saw the access. Many people discuss the ability to fake the biometrics and while there are chances of this occurring it is a fairly complex process and by changing the systems so they are only transferring cash direct to accounts controlled by the individual rather then relying on someone else to be an intermediary creates a lot of freedom to the individual! Being a part of UID was an incredible experience that along with touching so many people truly effected my life as well.

There are several projects in India that are changing the way we interact with the government.

omg (1)

indagame (3401091) | about 10 months ago | (#45157311)

Omg, one billion? It is not real.
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