Centre rebuffs Moody’s Aadhaar report
A report from Moody’s Investors Service that questioned the effectiveness of Aadhaar was addressed by the Electronics and IT Ministry late on Monday. Dismissing concerns about security and privacy in a centralized system, the ministry claimed that there had been no breaches reported from the database of the unique ID system up to that point.
- The Ministry noted that Aadhaar has received commendation from several international organizations, including the IMF and the World Bank.
- They pointed out that to learn from the success of Aadhaar and explore introducing comparable digital ID systems, several nations have collaborated with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
- The Moody’s assessment identified specific concerns, such as problems with service interruptions brought on by difficulty with biometric verification, particularly in hot and muggy weather.
- The paper also outlined potential privacy and security problems related to centralized systems, where individuals’ login information and access to online resources are managed by a single body, such as a government electoral roll.
Response from the Ministry:
- The Ministry condemned Moody’s for making broad accusations against Aadhaar without offering any supporting information.
- They cited the fact that more than a billion Indians had used Aadhaar for authentication more than 100 billion times, indicating a high level of public confidence in the system.
- The Ministry explained that Moody’s report had made the mistaken assumption that participants in India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) needed to submit to biometric authentication.
- The MGNREGS Aadhaar seeding program does not require biometric employee authentication.
Other Authentication Techniques
- The Ministry emphasized that many alternative biometric identification techniques, such as face and iris recognition, are supported by Aadhaar.
- Additionally, they said that there are numerous use cases for mobile OTP (One-Time Passcode) solutions, offering flexibility in authentication.
Privacy and security:
- The Ministry defended the Aadhaar system’s privacy and security.
- They said that facts about security and privacy had been released in answer to questioning from the Parliament, showing transparency in handling issues.
- They further underlined that the law governing the Aadhaar system was written with strong privacy protections by Parliament.
- Strong technological and organizational safeguards are used to uphold these privacy protections to protect user data.
In conclusion, the Ministry’s answer emphasized Aadhaar’s widespread acceptance, criticized Moody’s for providing insufficient proof, cleared up misconceptions about biometric authentication, and reaffirmed the stringent security and privacy procedures in place to safeguard Aadhaar users’ data.